COVID-19: Urumqi launches citywide free testing

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Urumqi, capital of Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, will give free COVID-19 tests to residents who wish to take them, in the wake of an unknown cause of clustered infections.

The citywide free testing “aims to effectively lower the risk of the virus spreading,” the city anti-epidemic group said on Monday night.

All hotels in the city will provide free stays, meals, pick-up services and COVID-19 tests for people from outside Urumqi.

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The health authority in Urumqi said Monday that tests for all the key population and those under medical observation have been completed. The ongoing free testing will gradually be expanded.

A number of collection points in each of the city’s districts have been set up and the community will organize residents to receive tests at designated sampling points, the Urumqi Municipal Health Commission said.

Home to about 3.5 million people, Urumqi reported a total of 53 confirmed COVID-19 infections and 55 asymptomatic cases as of Tuesday. The outbreak in Urumqi is linked to a group activity, but the actual origin of the cluster of infections is still unknown.

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Of the 3,119 people under medical observation, the number of COVID-19 infections will show a downward trend as the first generation of close contacts has mostly been confirmed, Rui Baoling, the director of the local CDC in Urumqi, said on Monday.

Urumqi began testing key groups on July 17, including those from neighborhoods with confirmed positive cases, suspected and asymptomatic cases and their close contacts, as well as those displaying fever symptoms.

The citywide testing will see the participation of 25 nucleic acid testing institutions, more than 1,600 medical workers, together with more than 200 people in 10 nucleic acid testing medical teams from 10 provinces and cities organized by the National Health Commission.


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