China seeks to make widespread coronavirus testing new normal, but gaps remain

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Beijing resident Wang Yukun was happy to comply in April when the construction firm he works for told him he’d need to take a test for the novel coronavirus before he could come back to work, even though he was at low risk of having the disease.

“My company arranged it and covered the test fee. The process was less time-consuming than I imagined,” he said, recalling how he got his negative result the next day. “I think everyone should be tested as a matter of personal health.”

While coronavirus tests can be difficult to obtain in many countries, China is rapidly expanding their availability and affordability, enabling the masses — not just frontline workers, people from hard-hit areas or the sick — to get tested. China is able to produce 5 million test kits a day, the country’s industry ministry said last month.

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While China has not tallied how many daily tests are being carried out nationally, its capacity is far greater than other countries including the United States, which has conducted around 300,000 tests daily on average in recent days, according to the non-profit COVID Tracking Project.

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