A Chinese province of 96 million inhabitants has capped COVID-19 testing costs at just 7 GBP as mass testing now becomes a national requirement.
The central Chinese province of Henan published a list of 86 public and private healthcare facilities offering reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests on Monday (27th April).
The hospitals and clinic will serve every one of its 18 administrative regions, with 24 facilities located in provincial capital Zhengzhou where over 10 million people live.
As months-long lockdowns end in China, and in the absence of a vaccine, Beijing considers mass testing for traces of SARS-CoV-2 the only viable option to ensure the health of the general public.
Rapid antibody tests are also being developed, reports said.
The Henan Health Commission has ordered smaller clinics and hospitals without testing capabilities to build on-site laboratories, where independent COVID-19 testing can be done.
According to reports, Henan’s 96 million inhabitants can expect next-day results, while antibody tests could return in just 15 to 20 minutes.
Elsewhere in China, the province of Heilongjiang, which experienced a high volume of imported cases before going on virtual lockdown, is charging 270 RMB (30 GBP) for COVID-19 tests.
In the manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, in South China’s Guangdong Province, a coronavirus swab test is capped at 160 RMB (17 GBP).
Even in former COVID-19 epicentre Wuhan, where 53 clinics are offering on-demand testing, prices are set at a maximum of 260 RMB (29 GBP).
Provincial and municipal governments are incentivising mass testing with the low costs, but officials are also ordering schools and businesses not to allow back pupils and employees without a COVID-19 negative test valid within the last seven days.
Those who are not able to prove they are virus-free will also be barred from flights and trains, reports said.
Beijing has not released statistics showing the number of coronavirus tests it has conducted since the start of the outbreak.
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