Recently, Shanghai, Chengdu and Sichuan (China) announced that they will suspend the free nucleic acid testing. Shanghai announced that the free testing will only last until September 30, and Chengdu announced that starting from August 13, except for key groups, they will charge for nucleic acid tests (or PCR) according to regulations. People have started to react, a netizen in Chengdu posted a video with the caption: “Sichuan province has started charging for nucleic acid tests and the outstanding balance in the national treasury is not enough to pay for nucleic acids.”

The Shanghai Health and Medical Commission reported that the Shanghai Disease Control and Prevention Command Office decided to offer free testing services at “normalized nucleic acid testing” sites in Shanghai until September 30, requiring citizens to take at least one test each week from now until then. If there is no record of nucleic acid test results within 7 days, the “Shanghai QR Code” of the non-testers will be yellow-coded, and the people not testing will be prosecuted.

On August 12, the Chengdu government said, the Chengdu Epidemic Command Office requires all residents from other provinces to Chengdu to complete the on-site nucleic acid sampling as soon as possible and it will be provide free nucleic acid tests for all drivers and passengers. People entering parks, markets, or shopping centers are required to have nucleic acid tests, and during outbreaks they must be tested every day. From 8 a.m.

According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, currently, the COVID-19 nucleic acid test is no more than 16 yuan per person (about $2.35) per individual test while group testing will not exceed 3.5 yuan (51 cents)and, the total cost of antigen testing does not exceed 6 yuan (about $0.90) per person.

At the beginning of May, the State Council of China requested large cities with populations of more than 10 million and provinces that have a high contagion rate should set up “nucleic acid sampling sites for every 15 minutes of walking.” At that time, many cities considered the normalization of nucleic acid testing as an important precaution. However, the National Health Insurance Administration of China pointed out that health insurance will not cover the test fee, and the cost of nucleic acid tests will be borne by local governments, so the frequency of testing has dropped at many locales.  

According to Vision Times, many places in China, without the official announcement, have launched pilot projects charging a fee for nucleic acid tests. A video posted by netizens shows that nucleic acid sampling counters on the streets of Dingxi City, Gansu have tried charging for every test. A billboard in the video lists the prices.

In another video, at the nucleic acid test site at a stadium in Zhanjiang City, Guangdong, it was announced that there was a trial charge 14 yuan (about $2.00 a pop) for nucleic acid tests!

According to Vision Times, on the issue of testing fee collection, netizens have been non-stop enthusiastically discussing reasons of the fee charging, some think that due to “shortage of health insurance”, the channel has re-posted some comments as follows:

Twitter user “Rocky Mao” wrote: “National Health and Health Commission: Total national health spending in 2021 will exceed 7.55 trillion yuan ($110.74 trillion)! Note that it is not 750 billion, but 7.55 trillion! Given China’s 1.4 billion population, per capita health spending is more than 5,000 yuan ($734), which would be enough to provide free medical care for the entire population. This is the figure for 2021, maybe even more in 2022!  No wonder everyone is saying that national health insurance is in short supply!  No wonder the standard of social security facilities is also increasing! No wonder they started charging for nucleic acid tests.”

One netizen said that in Bijie, Guizhou, his hometown had started charging nucleic acid test fees, and the are not cheap. One test is 16 yuan ($2.35)

Someone sarcastically pointed out that the government uses taxpayers’ money to pay for the tests, they’re not free.

One netizen was very blunt in his criticism saying that first authorities announce that the testing in Shanghai will be free until September 30, implying that the government will run out of money and normalized nucleic acid testing will cost in the future. First, they get you used to being a slave, then they get you used to paying to be a slave.

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