Beijing has increased the coronavirus or COVID-19 testing efforts and has tested around a third of the population of the Chinese capital so far, a city official mentioned on Sunday, as authorities seek to control a pandemic stemming from a wholesale market in mid-June.

As of Sunday noon, Beijing collected 8.29 million samples of patients and completed 7.69 million tests, Zhang Qiang, an official from the municipal committee of Beijing, mentioned in a press conference.

COVID-19 in Beijing

Coronavirus
Workers of Junjiang Industrial Limited Company produce medical masks in Yilong New District at Bouyei-Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Qianxinan in southwest China's Guizhou Province, Feb. 21, 2020. Medical supply companies in Yilong New District have been producing medical supplies at full capacity to support the fight against the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. (Xinhua/Yang Wenbin/IANS) Xinhua/IANS

"This means we have already tested all the people that need to be tested. We are also rolling out large scale screening to key regions and key populations (of the city) and improve our capability of testing," said Zhang, adding that Beijing was also receiving medical support from other provinces. Beijing reported its first case from the outbreak at Xinfadi market on June 11 and 311 people in the city of over 20 million have tested positive for the virus since then.

According to Zhang, the testing is being done in batches and includes workers from the market and residents in surrounding neighbourhoods. Students, front-line medical staff, and workers in the transportation, banking, supermarkets, express deliveries and beauty salon industries will also be tested. Zhang added that Beijing's daily testing capacity has increased to 458,000 per day. China on Sunday reported 17 new coronavirus cases, of which 14 were from Beijing.

(With agency inputs)