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NHC: Most New Local Infections in the Past 15 Days were Cluster Cases China's Daily Testing Capacity Up to 1.5 Million Samples

2020/05/17

At a press briefing given by the State Council inter-agency task force on COVID-19 response on 16 May, NHC spokesperson Mi Feng said that 39 new local confirmed cases and 194 asymptomatic cases had been reported in the first half of May, a fall of 46% and 62% respectively from the number of the second half of April. Given that most of new confirmed cases are cluster ones and asymptomatic cases were found in various locations, redoubled efforts must be made on patient treatment and epidemiological investigations. Nucleic acid testing capacity must be ramped up and control measures such as screening, retests and quarantine must be intensified for asymptomatic cases. All-out efforts should be made to stem the spread of the virus.

Guo Yanhong, a senior supervisor of the NHC Medical Administration Bureau, said that at the early stage of China’s COVID-19 response efforts, nucleic acid tests were mainly conducted by disease control agencies. As cases continued to rise, increasing the testing capacity and efficiency became a bottleneck problem. In late January, the NHC made it clear that qualified medical institutions in all localities could carry out nucleic acid tests after proper registration. Now China’s daily testing capacity has reached 1.5 million samples.

As work and production have been resumed and the testing coverage widened, the nucleic acid testing capacity needs to be further enhanced. Going forward, efforts will be made to strengthen laboratory building in medical institutions at tier-2 and above to equip them with the nucleic acid testing capacity. At the same time, biosecurity and laboratory management as well as training for medical workers will be stepped up to meet the need for medical services and for nucleic acid tests from whole society after the resumption of work and production.

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