By Zhu Jingruo, Wang Haonan, People’s Daily
Beijing vowed to stay focused and strictly implement COVID-19 prevention and control measures to prevent risk points, and the spread and resurgence of the epidemic.
The Chinese capital reported 14 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on June 27, bringing the total of confirmed cases related to the Xinfadi wholesale market to 311. The new confirmed cases were mainly found at quarantine sites, showing an uptick for two consecutive days.
Although the outbreak is controllable by and large, efforts shall never be slackened.
Beijing has adjusted the quarantine measures promptly and placed key groups of people as its top priority for epidemic prevention and control. Twenty-three cases found at the MGM International Hotel, one of the quarantine sites, were staff at the ground floor of the beef and lamb trading hall at the Xinfadi market, according to Chu Junwei, deputy secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Fengtai District Committee in Beijing and acting head of the district. People who had close contact with this area are now labeled by health experts as extremely high-risk groups.
Fengtai district is conducting both nucleic acid tests and serum antibody tests on people in collective quarantine. Besides, the district decided to extend the quarantine to 28 days from the previous 14 days for those who had close contact with the market’s beef and lamb trading hall, and will conduct another round of nucleic acid tests and serum antibody tests on them after the 28 days’ medical observation.
The capital city has basically completed nucleic acid testing, an effective method of early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment, for all key groups. More than half of the confirmed cases in Beijing were found through testing and screening.
Based on the list of priorities, the city has tested all key groups in four batches. As of June 28, it had collected about 8.3 million nucleic acid samples and conducted tests for about 7.7 million people, basically clearing all key groups of people in a timely manner.
After conducting nucleic acid tests on key groups of people from key areas, Beijing will continue to make nucleic acid testing compulsory among all key groups of people and available for those who ask to be tested, said Zhang Qiang, a member of the city’s epidemic-control office who oversees nucleic acid testing and deputy head of the Organization Department of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee.
Besides, the city will take random tests on residents in areas newly designated as medium-and high-risk ones.
Beijing continues to expand its testing capability. A mobile container laboratory for conducting COVID-19 tests has been established in the city’s Zhongguancun Life Science Park and put into operation. After the lab is upgraded, its maximum daily testing capacity will exceed 20,000 samples.
At the Tiantan Sports Center, a nucleic acid sampling station developed by an institute under the Academy of Military Sciences has enabled medical staff to work without having to put on heavy protective clothing.
Beijing is also expanding the inflatable laboratory for COVID-19 tests at a sports center in Daxing district, which will increase the average daily tests to 100,000 samples.
Since June 11, Beijing has established a working group for nucleic acid testing at the earliest possible time and mobilized forces to improve testing capacity.
According to Zhang, the number of nucleic acid testing institutions in the city has increased to 144, and 413 medical workers of 20 medical teams from 12 provinces had been sent to Beijing to help conduct nucleic acid tests.
As a result, the city’s daily testing capacity has increased to 458,000 samples, and the maximum daily testing capacity reached 1,084,000, Zhang added.
A medical worker samples throat swab for a kid at a nucleic acid testing station in Hepingli Qiqu community, Dongcheng district, Beijing, on June 23. Hu Qingming/People’s Daily Online