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China adopts faster mass testing for COVID-19

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-01-19 17:06
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A staff member works in a "Falcon" air-inflated laboratory for COVID-19 nucleic acid testing in Manzhouli, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Dec 3, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING -- Chinese health authorities have adopted faster-pooled tests for the coronavirus that allow professional labs to process 20 samples at a time.

The updated testing techniques, based on the current practice of putting five or 10 swab samples together and testing as one, are aimed at sharply boosting the efficiency of virus testing, said the State Council inter-agency task force for COVID-19 response.

The new testing approach will be introduced across the country while ensuring quality results, it said.

The task force has issued guidelines on the updated techniques, specifying requirements for sample collection, storage, laboratory processing, and disposal of post-test samples, among others.

Mass testing has been a common practice in China's containment of domestically transmitted resurgence of COVID-19. In Tianjin's latest coronavirus wave, the municipality of 13.9 million people that neighbors Beijing conducted three rounds of citywide mass testing in one week since the infections with the highly infectious Omicron variant were first reported on Jan 8.

The city has seen a drop in the number of infections, with 14 new locally transmitted cases reported Tuesday.

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