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Global Times

Demand for COVID-19 tests is surging, following latest Beijing outbreak

Global Times

By Huang Ge Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/15 17:03:40

Demand for nucleic acid tests is surging in Beijing, with local service providers receiving increased orders after the latest COVID-19 outbreak relating to the Xinfadi Wholesale Market in its southwestern Fengtai district.

"I took a test on Sunday afternoon after we were informed on Saturday that there was one confirmed case in our office building," said a white-collar worker surnamed Yu in the district.

"My company helped all staff preorder the tests, which cost about 200 yuan ($28). And now we are all self-quarantining at home and waiting for the test results - they may take one or two days," Yu told the Global Times on Monday.

"Since new cases continue to come in, more and more Beijing residents are rushing to take tests, and some need to wait for a week before they can get a swab," he said.

The number of institutions qualified to carry out nucleic acid tests in Beijing stands at 98 with a maximum daily testing capacity of nearly 90,000 people, according to Beijing health authorities.

The Beijing Municipal Health Commission said on Monday that the city reported 36 new confirmed domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases and six new asymptomatic cases on Sunday.

In the past four days, a total of 79 new cases have been reported in Beijing.

"I will take a nucleic acid test later this week as requested by my company, since there are some cases confirmed in the nearby neighborhood around the Yuquandong market," said an employee surnamed Chen who works for a state-owned enterprise based in the northwestern Haidian district.

Chen told the Global Times: "We are not the group that is required to take the tests but for the sake of our safety, my company has asked all of us to do so."

A total of 10 communities around the Yuquandong market were shut down after several market workers tested positive for the virus, with all connected to the Xinfadi market, a local official told a press briefing on Monday.

"Most of the institutions authorized by local authorities to carry out the tests are fully booked and you need to wait for one week," said Beijing resident Lin Yuan. He had tried to book a test but has thus far been unable to register.

"After hearing of the new cases in Xinfadi, I voluntarily applied for the test. It is responsible conduct not only for me but also for the people around me," Lin said.

In addition to the rising offline demand, online purchases of nucleic acid test kits on Alibaba's Tmall and Alipay rose tenfold in recent days, according to AliHealth on Monday.

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