China is continuing to tweak its policies on nucleic acid tests to enable the public to get tested at nearby booths and prevent the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks between provinces.
Since early September, a "test after arrival" policy has been implemented under which cross-provincial travelers can take nucleic acid tests after arriving at airports, railway stations, bus stations, highway services zones and ports. Drivers can also test after arriving at their destination.
Wang Liping, a researcher with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news conference in Beijing on Thursday that the policy played a key role in tracing travelers at risk of infection and preventing outbreaks.
"For example, when a traveler departs from an area experiencing an outbreak and gets tested on arrival at their destination, disease control workers can contact them in the event of a positive result to stop them from engaging in social activities and prevent a possible outbreak," she said.
She said that the "test after arrival" policy is consistent with the previously existing policy of promoting the mutual recognition of nucleic acid test results across the country, and is also a necessary and important measure in addressing mutations.
In addition to the testing policy for cross-provincial travelers, the government is working to improve regular tests for the public.
Guo Yanhong, director of the Medical Emergency Department at the National Health Commission, told the news conference that when there is an outbreak, mass nucleic acid tests will only be mandated when authorities can't confirm the source of infection, chain of transmission chain or transmission in communities.
As for regular nucleic acid testing, the commission will optimize the layout of booths and update electronic maps to keep the public informed.
"We will set a more reasonable schedule to offer tests to the public and add booths and workers to places with higher populations," she said.