Starting today, the municipal government has announced that all international arrivals to Beijing must now take a COVID-19 test in addition to being quarantined. Those who have entered the city within the last 14 days will also undergo mandatory nucleic acid testing (NAT).
Inbound flights to Beijing are also being redirected to 12 airports nationwide: Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan, Hohhot, Shanghai Pudong, Jinan, Qingdao, Nanjing, Shenyang, Dalian, Zhengzhou and Xi’an.
The Chinese capital joins Shanghai in mandatory testing, which added NAT in addition to the 14-day quarantine from Monday. Hongqiao International Airport has also suspended all international flights, which will now be transferred to Pudong International Airport.
In South China, all arrivals at entry points in Shenzhen and Guangzhou have to undergo NAT and be quarantined at home or in a hotel for 14 days. You can read how the process for returnees to Guangzhou works right here.
The measures are in response to the growth in imported cases of the virus to China, with 95% of new cases reported on Monday imported from abroad.
What is a Nucleic Acid Test?
In order to obtain a sample for testing, the nose or back of the throat is swabbed (people have reported this process to be slightly uncomfortable at most). Next, researchers extract nucleic acid from the sample and amplify certain regions of the genome through reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and compare it with SARS-CoV-2. Results can take from anywhere from 12 hours to three days.
[Image via China Daily]
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