Beijingers flocked to get tested
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Beijingers flocked to get tested

At the front of the line are medical staff wearing protective clothing, gloves, and glasses, standing behind the table taking test samples.

In an effort to ease people’s worries about a second outbreak, Beijing has asked more and more people to get tested.

People lined up for Covid-19 testing on June 21.

Laboratories are working at full capacity to process samples but the backlog is so large that it takes 10 days to get results.

When the first case was reported in a market in southern Beijing earlier this month, authorities required all employees and stall owners at the market, as well as those living in the surrounding area, to be tested.

But Tan Phat Dia, Asia’s largest market that supplies 80% of the city’s vegetables and fruits every day, makes people worried that the virus could spread along the product supply chain.

Testing continues to expand to restaurant staff and people in contact with food, drivers, delivery people, and medical staff.

But the city’s capacity to process nucleic acid testing samples is limited to only 230,000 samples a day.

10 medical teams are being mobilized to increase testing capacity by 30,000 samples a day, while scientists are trying mass testing, meaning mixing 5 samples and testing at the same time, to increase capacity.

The government built a temporary laboratory at the Beijing Medical University Hospital Alliance, operating from June 22, without disclosing the sample processing capacity.

The government also urged people to get tested `in moderation`, only those in high-risk areas or planning to leave the city need to get samples and must make an appointment.

However, for residents in neighborhoods like Cai’s, they are still careful to do enough testing even though they are 25 km away from Tan Phat Dia.

`Taking the sample is not complicated, we only had to line up for 20 minutes. I took the opportunity to chat with my neighbors and when it was my turn, it took less than a minute to take the sample,` the 32-year-old woman said.

`After that, I can go to the market, continue my normal day and feel secure that I have been tested.`

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