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Beijing ups its nucleic acid testing capability

China Daily | Updated: 2020-06-29 08:37
People wait to provide samples for nucleic acid tests for novel coronavirus in Beijing on June 28, 2020. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

Beijing has boosted its nucleic acid testing capability for novel coronavirus infection by adopting new equipment and high-level technologies, with the capital completing tests for about 7.7 million people by Sunday.

"The city has tested nearly all the people who should have received the test, including people who have been to Xinfadi wholesale market, where all the cases are related, and those who have been in contact with people who have been there," said Zhang Qiang, a member of the city's epidemic-control office.

The number of hospitals and medical institutions capable of conducting the tests in the city has increased from 75 to 144, Zhang said. The city's daily testing capability has increased from 40,000 on June 11 to 458,000.

On Sunday afternoon, two mobile nucleic acid testing vehicles were put into use in Xicheng and Chaoyang districts, the first of their kind in Beijing. Residents can receive the tests conveniently near their communities or workplaces thanks to the mobile testing vehicles.

Beijing's first inflatable testing lab, called Huoyan Laboratory, was put into use last week. It has 16 chambers, with a daily testing capacity of 100,000 samples.

The lab was designed with a fresh air system and filtration system. Workers outside the chambers do not need to wear protective clothing. The inflatable nucleic acid testing lab can be erected very quickly. It takes only 50 minutes to inflate a chamber.

Beijing reported 14 new local COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the total of confirmed patients to 311 since the first new local case was reported on June 11, according to Pang Xinghuo, deputy head of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

By June 19, five provinces had reported confirmed cases linked to Beijing.

Anxin county in Xiongan New Area, Hebei province, has imposed a lockdown on villages and communities to prevent cross infection.

Beginning Saturday, residents in the county have been forbidden to leave their homes, except for those who work for the public interest or are working in jobs related to fighting the outbreak.

The county was one of the few places in the country to be hit by COVID-19 since mid-June. It has reported 13 confirmed novel coronavirus infections, all linked to the Xinfadi market.

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