Returning travelers queue for hours to get nucleic acid tests

Zhu Yuting Yang Meiping
Hospitals extend operating hours to cope with surging demand, but some people wait for more than three hours.
Zhu Yuting Yang Meiping
Returning travelers queue for hours to get nucleic acid tests
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

People line up to take nucleic acid tests at Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital on Thursday.

Some hospitals in Shanghai have extended their operating hours to cope with a surging demand on Wednesday and Thursday for nucleic acid tests.

People who left Shanghai on holiday have queued for up to three and a half hours outside hospitals to get tested to meet the requirements of providing a negative nucleic test report before they return to work.

Returning travelers queue for hours to get nucleic acid tests
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A woman has her sample taken by a medical worker in Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital on Thursday.

The Changning-based Shanghai Tongren Hospital, near Hongqiao International Airport and Hongqiao traffic hub, has fully handled the surge in nucleic acid tests since Wednesday, a hospital official told Shanghai Daily on Thursday.

"We experienced triple the amount of people, about 4,500 on Wednesday, coming in for swabs, so we opened longer until 10pm," said Lou Simin, one official.

The "8-22" hospitals include some district hospitals, such as Putuo People's Central Hospital.

Also, Shanghai Neuromedical Center said its nucleic acid test window had adapted its opening time to 8am to 12pm on Wednesday and Thursday, as posted on its official WeChat account.

In addition, some hospitals, such as Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital (Zhijiang Road M. Division) and Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, provided a 24-hour service for residents who needed the tests.

Returning travelers queue for hours to get nucleic acid tests
Lou Simin / Ti Gong

People queue at Tongren Hospital for nucleic acid tests on Tuesday morning.

Returning travelers queue for hours to get nucleic acid tests

Medical staff in Tongren Hospital have to use a loudspeaker to guide people queuing for test.

At Minhang District Central Hospital, the waiting line, consisting mostly of parents and children, stretched from the hospital to surrounding roads.

Li Ying and her husband took their 10-year-old son to the hospital for a nucleic acid test on Thursday. After waiting for one and a half hours, Li asked her husband to take their son back home to have lunch and practice piano while she stayed in the line.

Li said the family traveled to Enshi City in Hubei Province during the National Day holiday, and her son's school requires all students who have traveled outside Shanghai to provide negative nucleic acid test results upon return to the campus on Friday.

"I didn't expect it would take such a long time, otherwise I would prefer to stay in Shanghai during the holiday," she said. "We arrived around 10am and saw the waiting line stretched at least 1,000 meters. It took us more than three hours to finish the test. Next holiday I would not go anywhere but stay in the city."

Residents can check the operating times, addresses and booking numbers of testing facilities through the Suishenban app, Shanghai's official public service platform. This app includes travel history tracking, local health code and other services.

There are 156 facilities offering nucleic acid testing services in the city, according to the local health commission.

Returning travelers queue for hours to get nucleic acid tests
Yang Meiping / SHINE

People queue outside Minhang District Central Hospital to take nucleic acid tests on Thursday.

As the holiday countdown continued, Shanghai Health Commission also released five tips for greeting the upcoming workdays: Adjust mental attitudes and make a work plan in advance; take meals at regular times, eat light and balanced and avoid overeating; take active parts in physical exercise; keep good protective habits such as wearing masks, washing hands frequently and keeping distance; and get enough sleep.

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