COVID-19 Catch-Up: Cheaper Tests, Foreigners Overlooked in Health Kit Update

New cases of COVID-19 in Beijing are still being confirmed on a daily basis, albeit at a slow and seemingly controlled rate. Beyond the numbers, however, the capital is awash with headlines about how the new outbreak will affect you. Here’s what you need to know:

Testing is now cheaper at public hospitals

Beijing has met the new outbreak with resolve, and at the heart of the response is massive amounts of testing – as of Jul 28, over 7.6 million Beijingers had taken a nucleic acid test.

More outdoor testing facilities have been popping up and producing exceedinly long queues around the city, not least of which running down the entire block up to Workers’ Stadium, but you can always book an appointment at a hospital if you prefer (see our list of testing hospitals here). In fact, testing at public hospitals and medical facilities has just gotten cheaper: the maximum price for a test at one of these facilities has fallen from RMB 180 to RMB 120, according to Xinhua News.

Private facilities, however, are not required to drop testing prices unless they are obligated to accept public insurance.

Health Kit app updated – but not for foreigners

Around the city, Beijingers have been asked to use a new feature in the Health Kit app before entering venues or attractions. The feature allows users to scan a QR code to register personal information automatically, eliminating the need to sign in with pen and paper.

The system was rolled out smoothly, save for one key oversight: the feature is not yet available for foreigners. This meant that over the holiday weekend, some foreigners had a bit of trouble passing through to their destination.

Unfortunately, there’s no telling how long this problem will persist, or when the developers will integrate expats. Till then, consider studying the phrase, “外国人的版本不支持这个功能“ ”Wàiguó rén de bǎnběn bù zhīchí zhège gōngnéng” (This feature is not available for the foreigner version).

Beauty salons must test all personnel

Need a haircut? Have no fear. On Jun 26, Beijing authorities released an emergency notice to all beauty salons, including hair and nail salons as well as spas and beauty product shops, stipulating that their personnel must undergo testing without exception, according to STCN. The testing is necessary given that – despite both customers and staff wearing a mask – there is no avoiding person-to-person contact while receiving services at salons.

In addition over 100,000 kuaidi package delivery drivers have been tested in Beijing, and all results were negative.

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