Free PCR tests stopped with new procedures required for testing

Hu Min
With free PCR tests no longer offered, new requirements are needed for testing, with the number of of residents taking tests significantly reduced.
Hu Min

Shot by Jiang Xiaowei. Edited by Zhong Youyang. Subtitles by Wang Xinzhou.

As Shanghai stops offering free nucleic acid testing services from Sunday, how can we still take the test?

To take the test at testing kiosks in Shanghai, people need to scan a code for payment via Alipay or WeChat, or by cash. An individual single-tube test costs 16 yuan (US$2.36) now.

Then they need to have their Suishenma, Shanghai's health code, scanned for the test. The nucleic acid test code, which was introduced in April, has been terminated.

The number of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test takers has significantly dropped following the change and relaxed COVID management policy.

At a testing kiosk on Xinsong Road in Minhang District, the number of takers there decreased to seven per hour from 50 on Sunday, a staffer surnamed Zhang said.

Free PCR tests stopped with new procedures required for testing
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The PCR test tubes collected in one hour at a kiosk in Jing'an District on Tuesday afternoon.

Among visitors, one said he needed to take an exam the second day, which requires a negative PCR report.

Some said they just wanted to check whether they were infected with COVID-19.

"I take careful precautions and haven't been infected so far, so I take PCR test regularly for confirmation," said a resident surnamed Gong.

A resident surnamed Shi, a nurse in Shanghai, said she needs to have negative PCR report within 48 hours when visiting homes of seniors.

Staff at another kiosk at the intersection of Changping Road and Jiangning Road in Jing'an District said the number of people taking PCR tests there used to be over 1,000 a day when free service was offered. The number has now dropped to three people an hour.

Each district has publicized their list of PCR sampling sites along with their opening hours on Suishenban, the city government's public service platform.

The PCR testing required at local hospitals for diagnosis can be paid through medical insurance.

Free PCR tests stopped with new procedures required for testing

People can find accessible PCR sampling sites on Suishenban.

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