Caixin
Jun 10, 2022 07:22 PM
CHINA

Covid-Free Chinese Regions Cautioned on Excessive Mass Testing

What’s new: China’s National Health Commission (NHC) has urged local governments in Covid-free regions to avoid conducting frequent and mandatory mass testing amid swelling public anger over disease control measure escalations.

NHC inspector He Qinghua said during a press conference Thursday that it “should not be a routine” to conduct frequent nucleic acid testing in Covid-free regions. The priority should be given to groups with high risk of Covid infections, he added.

He added that the State Council, China’s cabinet, will instruct some local governments to stop taking “illegal and mandatory” measures on Covid testing, without elaborating further.

Why it matters: The inspector’s comments came as local governments in Covid-free regions are frequently conducting mandatory nucleic acid testing. While the early detection of potential Covid infections is a preventive measure for local health authorities, the routine tests have been disruptive to the daily lives of many among the general public.

Recently, the northeastern city of Siping in Jilin province had adopted a punishment to fine and detain those who dodged more than two mandatory nucleic acid tests. The local government in Siping has since stopped the punishment, after the measure sparked public ire on Chinese social media last week.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Lu Zhenhua (zhenhualu@caixin.com) and editor Bertrand Teo (bertrandteo@caixin.com) 

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