How Guangzhou conducts mass testing for more than 19 million people within 10 days

2021-06-07 15:15:42

At 2.30 pm, Zhou Cuihuan, a young medical worker, has just completed door-to-door COVID-19 nucleic acid tests for five close-contact families in the Baihedong Community of Liwan District, a high-risk area according to Guangzhou’s local health authority. Working outdoor in summer is never easy. Zhou was soaked with sweat after three hours with full personal protective equipment (PPE).

Zhou is one of the thousands of medical staff working in line with Guangzhou’s strategies to curb the sudden surge in COVID-19 infections. As of June 5, Guangzhou has reported 94 locally transmitted cases (including 90 confirmed cases and 14 asymptomatic cases).

Despite of all the difficulties, the city’s reaction is fast and vastly covered. Thus far, Guangzhou has conducted mass testing for all registered and temporary residents in all of the 11 districts:

May 21, Guangzhou started two rounds of virus test for residents living in areas related to infected patients as soon as Liwan has reported locally transmitted cases on the same day.

May 26, Liwan conducted virus test for all residents in the district.

May 30, Guangzhou further expanded the testing scope to all residents living in Yuexiu and Haizhu as well as related areas of Tianhe, Baiyun and Panyu.

June 4, the authorities of Panyu, Baiyun, Huangpu and Tianhe announced to start mass testing for all residents.

June 5, Nansha, Zengcheng, Huadu and Conghua also started virus testing for all residents, which means the mass testing has now covered all of the 11 districts of Guangzhou.

Organizing mass testing for all residents in Guangzhou, a heavily populated city, takes a lot of work. According to the 7th national census released recently, Guangzhou is currently Guangdong’s most populous city with more than 18 million permanent residents, accounting 14.82 percent of the province’s total population.

To increase the city's capacity to administer nucleic acid tests, a new laboratory started operation in Guangzhou on June 1. Built at the Guangzhou Gymnasium in Baiyun district by Guangzhou KingMed Diagnostics Group, it can test 30,000 samples a day.

In addition, strict travel restrictions are also in place to control the virus spread.

May 29, Guangzhou required all residents of affected communities in Liwan to self-isolate at home.

May 31, Guangzhou issued an announcement which requires a negative virus test result within 72 hours on all travelers leaving the city.

June 1, Guangzhou released the No.15 announcement to lock down more areas in Liwan.

June 2, Guangzhou raised Liwan’s Baihedong Street and Zhongnan Streat to high-risk areas.

June 3, Guangzhou announced closed-off management on more areas of Liwan.

June 5, Guangzhou locked down Jia'an Garden, Zhujiang Street, Nansha.

June 6, Guangzhou adjusted major areas in Yuexiu and Haizhu with confirmed cases to medium-risk area.

“Thus far, we have found most infected patients are from two communities of Liwan while others are highly related to the Liwan cases. We have also imposed closed-off management on affected areas in other districts,” said Li Ming, Vice Mayor of Guangzhou, said on a press conference on May 31.

These measures have effectively restricted the virus spread out of Fangcun, Liwan to a large extend. As of today, most new confirmed cases are still concentrated in Liwan’s Zhongnan Street and Baihedong Street.

While restricting residents from going out, the community workers adopt a variety of measures to offer residents living supplies.

Residents can receive daily supplies and foods with the help of civil servant and volunteers.

With everyone’s effort, Guangzhou has collected more than 7.8 million nucleic acid samples. The testing started on 26th May and more that 6.8 million have returned negative while 29 have tested positive up to June 2.

Author | Jasmine

Editor | Wing, Keane, Jerry