Shanghai will launch another round of citywide nucleic acid testing today to continue screening out positive COVID-19 cases, with the goal of achieving zero community transmissions soon.

Every resident in the city’s locked-down, controlled and precautionary areas will take a polymerase chain reaction test today despite forecasts for rain, said Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Commission.

Door-to-door sample collection will be provided for those who have tested positive via antigen self-tests and are awaiting rechecks, as well as people living with them, Zhao added.

Everyone must wear masks and maintain a 2-meter distance to reduce cross-infection risks.

The city reported 19,455 positive cases on Sunday, 7 percent less than Friday.

The number of community transmissions is also gradually falling. A total of 217 such infections were found during PCR screenings in local communities on Sunday, 20 percent lower than Saturday.

Shanghai reported 51 COVID-19 deaths on Sunday — one-third more than Saturday — bringing the total since the resurgence in March to 138.

The average age of Sunday’s fatalities was 84.2 years, and the oldest was 100. All had severe underlying conditions, and only four had been vaccinated.

Among the COVID-19 patients, 196 have severe symptoms and 23 are in critical condition, up 20 percent from Saturday.

Meanwhile, a total of 21,972 COVID-19 patients were discharged from local designated and makeshift hospitals on Sunday after recovering, an increase of more than 16 percent over the previous day.

Antigen self-testing cannot replace PCR tests, which are more accurate, said Hu Xiaobo, director of the Shanghai Center for Clinical Laboratory.

However, that accuracy can be affected by other processes, such as sample collection, transport and testing, he noted, adding that frequent PCR testing is designed to detect infections in incubation periods with viral loads that are too low to result in positive results in a single test.

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