Massive nucleic acid testing launched in Shanghai's risky areas
Shanghai launched a new round of massive COVID-19 nucleic acid testing on Wednesday among people in areas at high risk of infection to help meet the "dynamic zero-COVID-19" target at the community level.
Apart from those on high risky posts who are already under regular screening, everyone in the key areas will undergo two nucleic acid tests in two days, according to Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Commission.
"The testing aims to detect potential infection source earlier, cut transmission and achieve dynamic zero-COVID-19 at the social level," he explained.
No additional quarantine measures, like the "2+12," will be imposed on residents in the key areas during this round of testing, Zhao told a press briefing on Wednesday.
The "2+12" measure means two days of home quarantine plus 12 days of community management, which is being used for risky groups related to positive COVID-19 cases.
Residents in the key areas are required to stay at home on Wednesday and Thursday and follow the instructions of community workers. Every household and everyone should receive the test, he pointed out.
Public service staff and those guaranteeing the city's operation and emergency services will be allowed to leave the community during the testing. Green channels will also be open for people with medical or other special requirements.
Residents can apply to the neighborhood committee for a certificate of home quarantine and management during the testing.
Based on the current pandemic situation, Shanghai will designate several key areas according to the regional risk levels and conduct nucleic acid testing block by block, Gu Honghui, the city's deputy secretary general, said on Tuesday.
Outside the key areas, companies are encouraged to stagger their work hours and allow employees to work from home to reduce mobility.
Under the stringent measures, Shanghai's subway network had transported about 1.8 million passengers as of 3pm on Wednesday, about 70 percent fewer than that on March 1, the city's Metro operator said.
The annual cherry blossom festival at Gucun Park in suburban Baoshan District, scheduled to open on Tuesday, has also been postponed due to the pandemic resurgence.
Meanwhile, the first batch of COVID-19 antigen self-testing kits for public use hit the market in Shanghai on Wednesday.
The COVID-19 antigen kits from Nanjing Vazyme Biotech appeared on the shelves at Guoda Drugstore's Nanjing Road W. outlet on Wednesday afternoon.
A whole box of kits for testing 20 people is being sold at 428 yuan (US$67.5).
However, Li Jinming, deputy director of clinical testing center of the National Health Commission, said it is not advisable for normal individuals to use the antigen testing kits, which are more suitable for groups with high risk and infection rates.
Shanghai reported one locally transmitted COVID-19 case with mild symptoms and 19 local asymptomatic cases on Wednesday afternoon.
The new local case is a former asymptomatic patient who showed symptoms later. The new asymptomatic cases include a woman from outside Shanghai.
All the new and asymptomatic cases tested positive after being centrally quarantined or screened as close contacts of previous cases, according to Wu Jinglei, director of the health commission.
The new local case, a 49-year-old man living at a construction site dormitory in Minhang District, has been quarantined as an asymptomatic case reported on Tuesday. He later showed symptoms during the medical observation at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center.
Two new COVID-19 medium-risk areas were added in the city on Wednesday. They are: 920 Tingyue Road, Huinan Town of the Pudong New Area and the construction site dormitory at Jianchuan Road Comprehensive Service Center of Jiangchuan Road Subdistrict of Minhang District.
However, the Yonghui Supermarket outlet on Huting Road N. in suburban Songjiang District will be downgraded to a low-risk area from medium-risk at midnight on Thursday.
Shanghai now has 10 COVID-19 medium-risk areas.
The other sites are: 9 Jumenhou Road in Huangpu District's Dapuqiao Subdistrict; 760 Loutang Road in Jiading District's Industrial Zone; 1578 Hongmei Road S. in Minhang's Meilong Town; 1811 Xuefu Road in Jinshan District's Jinshanwei Town; 281 Changdao Road in Pudong's Hudong Community Subdistrict; 233 Henan Road N. in Jing'an District; 1200 Caoxi Road N. in Xuhui District and the No. 1 building at 3705 Bao'an Highway in Jiading.
Since the surge of local cases began on March 1, the city had screened a total of 13,989 people who had close contact with positive cases as of 2pm on Wednesday. Among them, 12,948 have tested negative, with the rest undergoing examinations.