Beijing could run out of laboratory tests in the coming weeks to identify people who were infected with COVID-19 and had not received treatment, the Chinese capital’s health commission said on Friday, although it acknowledged a small geographic gap in its ability to test for the disease.
Department of Health’s announcement came ahead of a planned Kudian meeting on the pandemic on Saturday, when officials will discuss more testing capacity in the city.
It is not immediately clear how Beijing will be able to test, or where and when it will implement a system for early-stage patients who are still being considered because they are not well enough to undergo tests or are not otherwise eligible for testing.
The city of more than 10 million has reported nearly 17,000 cases and 680 deaths linked to tainted drinking water or indoor gatherings such as large gatherings or festivals, the vast majority of which are linked to tainted food or drink consumption.
Beijing has banned local councils from reopening businesses or schools without medical certificates for workers or because of work-in-progress.
Beijing ran out of backup labs in the past couple of weeks, though the commission avoided recommending it do so during the so-called national lockdown.
Beijing will likely also run out of before-and-after beauty experts, the national government agency of health, after which the local authorities will have to develop a replacement method, the product regulatory commission said in a statement on its website.
The national government has already said it may restrict the supply of skin-wise pain relief products and facial prostheses.
The National Health Commission said it expects to back out plans to expand tests in Beijing to handle about 80,000 tests a day.