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Rush for coronavirus tests precedes holiday

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou | | Updated: 2021-01-22 16:58
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Hospitals in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, are experiencing heightened demand for coronavirus tests, as large numbers of people plan to return to their hometowns in rural areas for the upcoming Spring Festival holiday.

China's top health authority said on Wednesday that people intending to travel home to rural areas during the holiday, which starts on Feb 11, must provide negative novel coronavirus test results taken within seven days of departure — one of the measures designed to cope with rising risks.

Hospitals are asking people to make early appointments online to help smooth out demand.

"There were about 1,000 more people taking nucleic acid tests on Thursday," said Chen Quanfu, director of the medical services department of the Traditional Chinese Medical Hospital of Guangdong Province. "More tests are expected to be taken in the coming days as people are beginning their trips."

Usually, the hospital tests about 1,800 people a day, Chen said, adding that the hospital has taken steps to cope with rising demand, such as arranging for more doctors to be available and expanding testing spaces.

In response to the increased demand for testing, health authorities in Guangdong are asking people to get their tests done by third-party medical testing organizations when possible.

KingMed Diagnostics Group Co, an independent clinical testing company, said it received more than 40 times the usual number of orders on Thursday.

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