China coronavirus: 3million tested in 48 hours after Quingdao outbreak

More than a third of the people in Chinese city of nine million are tested for Covid in just two days after officials vowed to test them all in five days

  • 12 cases of coronavirus were detected in Qingdao, linked to a local hospital  
  • Heath officials said they would test entire 9.4million population in five days 
  • 3million tests were carried out within 48 hours, government claims
  • 1.1million results have come back, but it is not clear if more cases were found

China has tested 3million people for coronavirus in just two days after 12 cases were detected in a major port city, health officials have claimed.  

The cases were detected at a hospital in the city of Quingdao, population 9.4million, on Sunday. By Tuesday, officials said a third of the city had been tested.

The plan is to test the entire city within five days. Pictures show huge queues snaking away from mobile testing centres, with people arriving late into the night.

1.1million test results have been received so far, officials said, without revealing whether any more infections had been detected. 

China claims to have tested 3million people in the city of Quingdao for coronavirus within 48 hours after an outbreak of the virus

Health officials in the port city ordered everyone to be tested after an outbreak of 12 cases was detected at a local hospital

1.1million results have come back since testing began, Chinese officials said, without revealing whether any more cases were detected

People queuing for coronavirus tests in the city of Quingdao have their temperatures taken before getting a throat swab

China has been keen to parade its mass testing capabilities in recent months, after errors and cover-ups early on during the pandemic allowed the disease to spread.

The country’s mass-testing regime far outstrips that of most other countries, where tests are often still difficult to access, almost a year after the disease first emerged. 

Health officers say the Chinese government now has a policy of mass testing any city where clusters of infection are detected.

In Quingdao, all the infections were linked to a local chest hospital that had been treating infected patients returning from overseas. 

The cases were first reported on Sunday, and health officials say 140,000 employees, patients and personnel linked to the hospital were tested the same day.

The outbreak was detected immediately after the ‘Golden Week’ holiday, when hundreds of millions travelled across China, leading to fears the infections could have spread beyond the city.

Hundreds of people are seen lining up for coronavirus tests in the city of Quingdao on Monday after health officials ordered everyone to get screened for the disease

A line of people snakes across the pavement as they queue for coronavirus tests in Quingdao

China – which was criticised early in the pandemic for its handling of the virus – has been keen to parade its mass-testing capabilities in recent months

The infections were detected in Qingdao just after the Golden Week holiday when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel, leading to fears the disease could have spread

The city of Jinan, which is close to Qingdao, has asked everyone who visited since September 23 to get tested.

Testing in Qingdao is being carried out at makeshift medical centres around the city, which are operating between 7am and 11pm.

A spokesman for local authorities said the country now has a policy of mass-testing cities were a cluster of infections is reported, even if the cluster appears minor. 

In June, large areas of the capital Beijing were subject to mass tests after the city of more than 20 million detected virus cases linked to a food market.

And the city of Wuhan, which has a population of 11million and is where the virus first originated, was tested in 19 days back in June after a cluster of infections there.

Authorities in Beijing claim to have brought the virus largely under control, using widespread lockdowns and mass testing to eliminate cases.

People queued late into the night in order to get coronavirus tests in Quingdao, with testing centres open until 11pm

China’s mass-testing capabilities far outstrip those of other countries, where tests are still in short supply almost a year after the disease first emerged

People wearing face masks queue late into the night to get a coronavirus test in Quingdao

The country claims to have suffered just 90,000 cases of the virus and less than 5,000 deaths. 

By contrast, the US has reported 7.7million cases and more than 200,000 deaths.

The US has also suffered a record-breaking economic slowdown due to the virus, which saw GDP fall almost 33 per cent during lockdowns earlier in the year.

China’s economy also shrank during the lockdown, by almost 7 per cent, though has now returned to growth and is expected to grow overall in 2020.  

Beijing is also desperate to be first to conjure up a coronavirus vaccine, with several companies in final-stage trials.

Although unproven, vaccines have already been administered to hundreds of thousands of key workers and soldiers. 

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