Beijing’s mass testing for the new coronavirus will soon enter a “fast track”, a senior municipal health official said on Tuesday, suggesting that COVID-19 screening in China’s capital is about to gather pace in efforts to curb the latest outbreak.
The city of more than 20 million residents reported its first case in the latest outbreak on June 11. The infections were linked to Beijing’s sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food center.
People can leave and enter medium-risk neighborhoods, but apartment blocks with two confirmed cases or more will be locked down. In high-risk neighborhoods, an entire residential compound is locked down if there is even one infection.
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“The strategy of Beijing’s nucleic acid screening is mainly based on the level of risk and on severity,” Zhang said, when asked if everyone in Beijing would be tested.
Testing will be done in batches and according to the profile of individuals, he said.
Beijing has also been expanding its testing regime to other parts of the city, amid concern the virus may have spread.
A few people who were not among the close contacts of the confirmed cases have tested positive for COVID-19 even though they had not visited Xinfadi, according to official reports.
“We’ll give priority to testing high-risk groups in Xinfadi and other markets involved in the outbreak as well as surrounding communities,” Zhang said.
“On this basis, we’ve tested workers in restaurants, supermarkets, marketplaces, as well as residents in high-risk neighborhoods. Food delivery workers and parcel couriers have also undergone large-scale testing.”