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China ramps up COVID-19 testing

Nucleic acid testing capacity will be further improved nationwide, according to a circular issued by the State Council's joint prevention and control mechanism on COVID-19 on Aug 31.

By the end of this year, all secondary-level general hospitals should have nucleic acid sampling and testing capabilities, and testing bases in urban areas and public testing laboratories should be established, according to the circular.

The testing capacity of testing bases in urban areas should reach 10,000 samples per day, and 30,000 samples per day during epidemics.

Meanwhile, 100 large public hospitals across the country will be selected as public testing laboratories, which should have testing capabilities of 10,000 samples per day, so the whole country will have testing capabilities of 1 million samples per day, the circular said.

It also urged giving full play to the role of independent medical test laboratories (hereinafter referred to as third-party laboratories), from which the government will buy services when necessary.

A mechanism to mobilize nucleic acid testing forces among different areas for a rapid response will be built. The whole country will be divided into eight areas, and the public testing laboratories and large-scale third-party laboratories in each area can be coordinated as mobile testing teams with testing capacity of 500,000 to 700,000 samples per day.

If the location where a local cluster of COVID-19 infections occurs has insufficient nucleic acid testing capacity, it can submit an application to the State Council's joint prevention and control mechanism, and the National Health Commission will mobilize testing teams from the area or adjacent area for support after the application is approved.

The scale of medical personnel to run tests will be expanded, and an information management system for nucleic acid testing resources will be established, the document added.