CHINA China issues guideline for COVID-19 rapid antigen testing implementation


China issues guideline for COVID-19 rapid antigen testing implementation


08:52, December 09, 2022

China's health authority on Thursday issued a guideline for using rapid antigen testing (RAT) in a move consistent with its recent measures that cut negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test requirements for most social activities.

A resident uses a rapid antigen test kit at home in Hangzhou City, east China's Zhejiang Province, March 13, 2022. (Photo: CFP)

On Wednesday, China's National Health Commission (NHC) announced 10 measures that fine-tuned protocols for nucleic acid testing, quarantine requirements, daily access to medication and medical services, vaccination and risk area classification.

The rapid changes came after the 20 optimized measures announced a month ago to refine China's COVID-19 response.

According to NHC officials, the moves are optimized measures against the virus to balance epidemic control and social livelihoods.

The State Council inter-agency task force organized a press conference on Thursday to further explain and emphasize the implementation of the measures in detail.

In contrast to the previous measures that required residents to do PCR tests every few days, the new measures no longer require health codes nor upon-arrival tests for most public venues, except for certain places, such as nursing homes, welfare homes, medical institutions, kindergartens and schools.

However, people with jobs that put them at high risk of virus exposure should take PCR tests and closely follow the protocol listed in the 20 optimized measures, said He Qinghua, a senior official with NHC.

Others can take RAT tests with test kits purchased from pharmacies or online channels. Those who test positive can option for stay-home quarantine and health monitoring. Those with severe symptoms should seek professional medical treatment at designated hospitals, the guideline said.

The guideline also outlines that community-level medical centers should keep a supply of RAT test kits in stock to cover 15 to 20 percent of the residents it serves.

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