51 MILLION: Astonishing statistic amid China's daunting Covid battle

China has boasted of its Covid-19 testing capabilities in an effort to distill a sense of calm amid its most challenging period of the pandemic.

The Chinese Communist Party revealed on Monday the nation has a capability of 51.65 million tests every day — a remarkable figure which is roughly 3.6 per cent of its entire population of 1.4 billion.

"In general, test results can come out within six hours and health departments have kept working on faster testing strategies," health authorities said via state media.

Mass testing is ongoing in the city of Shanghai where China's Covid-zero strategy is under threat. Source: Reuters
Mass testing is ongoing in the city of Shanghai where China's Covid-zero strategy is under threat. Source: Reuters

China is renowned for mass testing in a bid to sniff out transmission, regularly ordering major cities to test its entire population at once over the slightest detection of the virus.

But that method has proven less successful in the mega city of Shanghai where all 25 million residents were tested in one day at the start of the month, with millions of tests performed daily since.

The giant testing capacity of the country involves 150,000 workers who according to health authorities are at "maximum capacity", with more than 200 million PCR tests since March 10.

Australia in comparison, where state and federal governments have previously boasted of one of the best testing rates in the world, hit a high of 392,000 daily tests last August, roughly 1.5 per cent of the nation's population.

China has adopted a pooling method which allows several people to be tested in one sample tube. If positive, those whose test was entered into the pool will retest individually.

Shanghai's lockdown taking a toll on residents

Shanghai continues to record more than 20,000 Covid-19 cases every day, as the nation's Covid-zero strategy continues to feel the strain of the highly-infectious Omicron variant.

A growing number of Shanghai residents are resisting the draconian lockdown measures imposed on them, with food and water supplies reportedly sparse. What was initially said to be a nine-day split lockdown has turned into a lockdown nightmare for many with no end in sight.

As leaked material from the World Health Organisation suggested China has underreported its Covid deaths during the pandemic, Shanghai announced its first three deaths from the latest wave.

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