Press conference on nucleic acid testing and advice concerning public health during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday

The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council held a press conference on June 24, 2020, in Beijing to brief the media on nucleic acid testing and offer advice concerning public health during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday. June 26, 2020

Xinhua News Agency:

We know that, since the outbreak of the epidemic, China has tangibly enhanced its nucleic acid testing capability in terms of both stability and efficiency. Various areas across the country are actively expanding their testing capacities. We found that many local authorities have published lists of medical institutions offering nucleic acid tests to keep the public informed as to where to go for help. My question is that, at present, what progress has been made in the improvement of the testing capability? Thank you.

Guo Yanhong:

Thanks for your question. As you have said, different areas across the country have taken various measures to greatly improve their nucleic acid testing capability. As we all know, nucleic acid test is the standard technical measure for diagnosing the etiology of the virus. Because of its insidious onset and strong transmissibility, people infected can become highly contagious before they have developed any symptoms prompting them to go to a hospital for medical treatment. In light of the virus' characteristics, and in accordance with the requirements of the State Council for joint prevention and control, we have put a focus on boosting our nucleic acid testing capability, so as to help curb the spread of the virus.

First, we have expanded the scope of testing to give us a capability to minimize the risk of transmission. We conduct nucleic acid testing for all in the key groups without exception, and facilitate the testing for other people who seek a test on their own volition, so that we can find potential infection cases as early as possible. Second, we have accelerated the improvement of testing capability to meet the demand throughout the nation. We have taken various measures including laboratory renovation, improving the facilities and equipment at test sites, software construction, and training a cadre of testing personnel. Third, we have strengthened management and resources coordination, as well as made more efforts to ensure quality and safety, so as to improve our testing efficiency.

At present, the nucleic acid testing capability of all medical institutions around the country has improved significantly compared with the situation in early March. The total number of designated centers offering nucleic acid tests has increased from 2,081 in early March to the current 4,804, a 131% increase. Among them, there are 2,120 tertiary hospitals, 1,350 secondary hospitals, 916 institutions for disease prevention and control, and 418 independent medical laboratories. The total number of technical personnel in nucleic acid testing has increased from 13,900 to 28,500, an increase of 104%. In early March, China could offer a maximum of 1.26 million daily nucleic acid tests for COVID-19; now, the number has gone up to 3.78 million per day, a gain of 200%. As of June 22, Chinese medical institutions had conducted 90.41 million nucleic acid tests for COVID-19. All the data I have presented shows that China's nucleic acid testing capability has increased dramatically. Thank you.

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