National Day holiday approach, arrivals required to take on-site

Now Shenzhen   |   September 28, 2022

A number of COVID-19 cases have been detected through on-site nucleic acid testing when travelers arrive at airports, train stations and highway exits, a method recently adopted across China to address the escalated risk brought about by increasing population flow as the National Day holidays approach. 

On-site testing is adopted to ensure no emergence of sizable domestic outbreaks before and after the National Day holidays, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on September 8 at a press conference. It is a key method to detect cross-region imported cases, the NHC noted. 

Testing labs have been set up at each train station, airport and highway exit in multiple cities including Shanghai and other places in Northeast China’s Jilin Province. 

Some other health experts said this measure can properly address the highly contagious Omicron variants. They said one case infected with Omicron strain BA. 5.2, for example, can infect 18 people on average and a small number of infected patients even show COVID-19 symptoms before their nucleic acid test is positive. Receiving tests at their destinations could help to check if they happened to encounter COVID-19 risks during their journey. 

The average air ticket cost during the National Day holidays is about 30 percent higher than that of the Mid-Autumn Festival, said Ctrip. Data from Tongcheng Travel showed the average air ticket price during the National Day holidays will exceed 700 yuan, about 40 percent higher than that of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

To reduce transmission risks, multiple cities urged local residents to stay put and reduce cross-province and cross-city travel. 

Both Beijing and Shenzhen require people who return to the city before and after the National Day holidays to take one test within 24 hours.