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China to Allow Rapid Tests for First Time as Covid Cases Surge

Rapid antigen tests have been used widely in other parts of the world.

Rapid antigen tests have been used widely in other parts of the world.

Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg

China will allow the use of rapid antigen tests to diagnose Covid-19 for the first time, as a fast-spreading omicron outbreak challenges its Covid Zero playbook, pushing cases to levels last seen in Wuhan at the start of the pandemic. 

While used widely in other parts of the world, rapid tests were restricted in China, where the virus has been contained for most of the past two years. The kits will now be available for use by ordinary citizens and clinics, the National Health Commission said in a statement Friday.