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China urges rapid testing amid latest COVID-19 outbreak

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Local governments have cut prices of swab tests as part of a zero-tolerance policy against the virus.

Beijing:

China is calling for faster and more accessible COVID-19 testing services in its latest effort to reinforce a zero-tolerance policy against the virus, even as cities have ramped up testing to millions in a matter of days amid the outbreak. Has scrambled.

Repeated testing, and sometimes large-scale testing, has been standard practice in China over the past year in containment of outbreaks that have spread domestically, but health officials say testing has been rampant in parts of China. Services are unsatisfactory.

“Small clusters and sporadic infections have occurred in some areas, highlighting problems such as inappropriate locations of nucleic acid testing agencies, inconvenient services and delays in return of results,” state media said on Tuesday, citing the National Health Commission (NHC). We do.” .

China is facing a new wave of infections since October 17 with nearly 200 locally transmitted symptomatic cases in 12 provincial regions. Many of the infected were from remote parts of northwest China without health resources in the form of major cities.

According to state media reports, the NHC said that the testing agencies should provide 24-hour services to the public and try to obtain the results within six hours for those who voluntarily take the test.

The NHC said in September that cities with a population of over 50 lakh should have the capacity to test everyone within three days.

While China has not yet approved self-testing kits to diagnose COVID-19, swab tests that require professional laboratories to process samples are widely available.

Local governments have recently cut prices for swab tests, with some tests being charged as low as 13 yuan ($2) in the Chinese capital, Beijing.

Some officials from a small administrative division in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia were reprimanded on Tuesday for poor management at sample collection sites that led to chaotic crowds during a division-wide testing campaign.

Similar official warnings were received during a grouping earlier this year in the southern city of Zhangjiajie and Yangzhou to the east.

Since the new coronavirus was found in late 2019, mainland China has reported 96,840 confirmed cases with symptoms, including both local and imported infections, taking the total death toll to 4,636.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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