Covid-19 is breaking out again in many parts of China. Big cities like Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai, and others have begun to require mass testing. People would need a negative test to enter buses, subways, and shopping malls.
But how much fees will China have to cover for the mass testing?
The first-tier and second-tier cities in China have a combined population of 505 million. TimedNews citing a report estimates that, if these cities conduct mass testing, the cost would be about 121.2 billion yuan a month, or 1.45 trillion yuan (or about 216 billion dollars) a year.
According to China’s Economic View news, citing a research report from the macro team of China Soochow Securities, Beijing was used as an example to calculate the cost of mass testing.
Beijing has a population of 21.8 million as of the end of 2021.
The price of a single-sample nucleic acid test in Beijing is 19.7 yuan (or 3.7 dollars). So the cost for mass testing the whole Beijing in two months reaches about 1.7 billion yuan (about 257 million dollars).
When the mixed testing is carried out following the standard of Beijing’s health department, the price of each sample test is not higher than 3.4 yuan (or 0.51 dollars). So the cost for a one-month mass testing in Beijing is about 298 million yuan, or 44,3 million dollars.
Now, nucleic acid testing is free for Beijing residents.
The report from China Soozhow Securities said that mass testing may not be the best solution, but it could help avoid the larger cost of lockdowns.
Goldman Sachs also pointed out that mass testing in large cities could be a major stimulus. It allows the economy to run. It is better than lockdown.
Cao Heping is an economic professor at Peking University. He said that mass testing is the epidemic prevention measure with the smallest social cost to deal with the Omicron variant.