Chinese Frustrated as Third Round of COVID Testing Ordered in Beijing as Olympics Loom

Less than two weeks before the Winter Olympics begin, Chinese officials ordered another round of mass coronavirus testing for millions of Beijing residents after a cluster of cases were reported in the host city.

Chinese residents say they're frustrated over the third round of mass testing, which was ordered to begin Wednesday for more than 2 million residents in the Fengtai district, the Associated Press reported.

People complained on social media, saying the repeated tests are disrupting their lives, are a waste of resources and put a burden on health care workers.

A woman named Ma told the AP the tests are happening too often. "I just did it yesterday and was asked to do it again today," she said.

The mass testing is done with people in groups of 10. A health care worker takes a sample from everyone in the group and places the swabs into the same container, the AP said, describing the process. If the result comes back positive, everyone is tested individually.

"I have gotten used to it," Tang Yupeng told the AP. "I took my last test two days ago, and it caught us off guard, but this time we received notice beforehand so it's OK."

The new round of mass testing was imposed after 31 cases of the virus were reported locally, CBS News said. China has a strict zero-tolerance COVID policy, and with the opening ceremony just 10 days away, Chinese authorities are trying to limit the potential spread of the virus.

Beijing officials told reporters that citizens "must go all break the chain of infection in the current outbreak as fast as possible," CBS News said.

To minimize the chance of further spread of the virus, residents aren't allowed to buy tickets for Olympic events. Instead, the Chinese government will choose "specially screened" groups to fill the empty seats, according to CBS News.

More than 3,000 people, including athletes, media and team members, have arrived for the Olympics since the beginning of January. Those participating in the games must be completely isolated from the public to try to avoid cross-infection, the AP said.

Chinese officials say at least 78 cases of the virus have been reported in people arriving for the games. Anyone who tests positive must go into quarantine under government supervision, according to CBS News.

Beijing officials said eight more people tested positive Wednesday. The total number of cases from the Delta variant's outbreak rose to 69 in the city. The AP said 54 people had symptoms, while 15 did not.

People who test positive and have symptoms are taken to a hospital to be monitored, while those without symptoms are quarantined in a hotel, the AP reported.

Beijing Third Round of Mass COVID Testing
A health care worker gets a coronavirus test in Beijing on January 20. Chinese officials have ordered a third round of mass testing in the city ahead of the Winter Olympics. Noel Celis / AFP/Getty Images