Surging demand for PCR tests causes long queues, wait times
Many Shanghai residents had difficulties getting a PCR test on Wednesday, the first day out of lockdown, with long waiting lines at many sites and some people queuing up to three hours to get tested.
"I drove around my compound this morning to find a place without a super long line, but I failed," said a woman, surnamed Dai, who lives on Neibaoxing Road in downtown Jing'an District.
"All five sites around my place were very busy this morning, with over 200-meter lines," she said.
Shanghai has returned to normal life after a two-month lockdown fighting against the COVID-19 resurgence.
All places in Shanghai, including public venues, office buildings and residential compounds, require a 72-hour PCR report.
The city announced that it has opened 15,000 sites for people to do the test. They are roughly divided into two types, in-compound and public.
However, the difficulty of getting a quick test has become a new problem for citizens.
"It took me about 40 minutes by bike to find a site with a shorter line yesterday," said Zhu Li, a woman who lives in Sanlin Town, in the Pudong New Area.
Many residents said the number of sites should be increased to meet the surging demand, as more sites can ease the crowd gathering risk.
Apart from long queuing lines, problems such as lack of test tubes and time limitations are also becoming a headache.
"I queued for about 40 minutes to get the test yesterday, and when it was almost my turn, they ran out of sample-taking tubes," said a woman, surnamed Chi, who lives in Putuo District.
"I had to wait for 20 minutes for more tubes," she said.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 infection also had difficulties getting the test within their compound.
"The site in our compound is not open for people who had been infected," said a pregnant woman, Chen Yan, who got infected on April 25 and turned negative in early May.
"If I want to do the test, I have to go to the public sites, and there is always a long line," Chen said.
Also, there is some lag in the PCR testing time information being updated on the Suishenban app, which lists all the name, location and serving time of each PCR site.
Moreover, the long time in getting the test result also impacts people's schedule.
"I checked the app and found that a site near my working place was not busy, but when I arrived, there were many people queuing," said a woman, surnamed Chen, who lives in Putuo District and works in Jing'an.
"I cannot go to the office without a negative PCR test report within 72 hours," she said. "And the test result I did last night has not come out yet. I had to work at home today."