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Global Times

Chinese cities train and hire large numbers of nucleic acid testers

Global Times

By Global Times Published: May 18, 2022 02:38 AM

Central China's Henan Province will train 50,000 nucleic acid testers in a year in response to the current surge in demand for personnel for nucleic acid testing, according to a recently released document.

Henan is not the only province that has increased recruitment for this position. On May 9, China's National Health Commission (NHC) asked major cities to build more convenient nucleic acid testing facilities to help with routine COVID-19 prevention and control. This position is in huge demand in many cities and is a popular work among job hunters.

According to a weekly industry report published by the Shanghai Securities, there will be at least 750,000 new testing sites nationwide, in urban communities only. The corresponding need for nucleic acid testing personnel is at least 1 million people.

According to media reports, some nucleic acid testing institutions in Shanghai are offering COVID-19 testing laboratory assistants a daily salary of 1,500 yuan ($223), and 2,000 yuan ($296) to intermediate COVID-19 testers. Job hunting websites show that in Beijing, the monthly salary of nucleic acid samplers can reach more than 10,000 yuan ($1,483). In Henan's Zhengzhou and other second-tier cities, the monthly salary for the position ranges from 4,000 yuan ($593) to 8,000 yuan ($1,187).

The short-term demand is mostly for part-time workers on these two positions. Despite that the daily salary could be high, the job demands hard work under high standards and requires certificates and relevant work experience.

Public information shows that in 2020, nucleic acid tester was listed as a new occupation by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. In 2020 and 2021, Beijing held 13 laboratory standardization training courses for nucleic acid testers. A total of 16,000 candidates enrolled in these courses, of which 11,000 successfully obtained the certificate. Four training sessions have been held in Beijing so far this year.

On the Chinese Internet, some netizens think this one position will become a new trend among job seekers. Others, however, raised some concerns saying that this position may not have a long-term career path or could be replaced by machines.

Because of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and the mild symptoms of infection, timely high-coverage nucleic acid testing is considered a good means for a city to quickly extinguish an outbreak. Recently, many cities affected by the virus have increased the frequency of nucleic acid testing. Several districts in Beijing have conducted three consecutive rounds of full nucleic acid testing, a total of nine times. The implementation of routine nucleic acid testing has been announced in 28 cities and three provinces in China, involving 420 million people.

Since the initial COVID-19 outbreak, in early 2020 through April 2022, China has completed about 11.5 billion nucleic acid tests, an official from the NHC said in April.

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