What to do with the out-of-use PCR testing kiosks

Wang Yanlin
Deputies at the annual Two Sessions have been debating the most effective way to use the PCR testing booths that are no longer in use.
Wang Yanlin

The issue of how to deal with the PCR testing kiosks that are no longer needed has been a hot topic among deputies and advisers at the ongoing annual Shanghai Two Sessions.

According to a collective proposal submitted to the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, these kiosks, which were previously used as nucleic acid testing booths, could be transformed into fever clinics or convenient treatment spots to relieve pressure on hospitals.

Pan Xichen, a deputy to Shanghai People's Congress, also suggested that the kiosks be converted into mini health-care centers. They can also serve as rest places for those in need, such as sanitation staff, couriers and elders, or be converted into convenient breakfast outlets.

According to media reports, around 15,000 mobile testing kiosks were set up in Shanghai at their peak. After the COVID prevention and control measures were relaxed, just about 1,000 are still in operation.

The surplus, therefore, is enormous.

What to do with the out-of-use PCR testing kiosks
Wang Yanlin / SHINE

A PCR testing spot

This morning, I had a good look at some of the "retired" PCR testing kiosks. On such a drizzly day, they stood there alone. Even though they are in the middle of the sidewalk, most people pass them without a second notice.

It is an indisputable fact that the mobile testing kiosks have played an important role in the fight against the pandemic. However, for many people they don't bring about pleasant memories.

People are optimistic that the pandemic will eventually subside. It is, therefore, worth asking if Shanghai needs so many "fever clinics" and "health-care centers."

Even if the PCR kiosks are used for other purposes, such as a place for rest and breakfast, we somehow don't want to remain connected to them.

Also, many of them take up walking space, which can be inconvenient.

The cost of setting up such a kiosk is not immediately available, but I can see the air-conditioners inside still good for use.

It is unlikely that reuse can be done without some kind of loss, but we can minimize the loss by remanufacturing.

Remanufacturing is not new to Shanghai. The Lingang Special Area is set to become the country's remanufacturing center. As a green industry, remanufacturing may repurpose steel kiosks for use in automobiles, home appliances and even construction.

It would be good to allow these kiosks to be reborn as some other commodities rather than taking up hard-pressed space on the road.

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