"Tens of thousands of PCR testing booths are littered across China, with many
residents just a 15-minute walk away from a swabbing point. Now that Covid Zero
has abruptly ended, cities are left with the problem of what to do with them.
Some have been retracted by operators, consigned to the scrap heap or listed on
second-hand online marketplaces for resale. Others have become eyesores
abandoned on the streets, battered by the elements. But some local governments
and communities are coming together to creatively reconfigure these unwanted
relics into new landmarks.
As infections surged in December after China’s Covid U-turn, cities from
Shenzhen to Changsha transformed testing booths into fever clinics and medicine
distribution sites to reduce pressure at overwhelmed hospitals. At these
booths, sick residents could get a diagnosis and use their state medical
insurance to buy drugs near their apartments.
The testing build-out cost around 200 billion yuan ($30.1 billion) to set up —
about equal to the gross domestic product of Estonia, according to calculations
from Goldman Sachs. The immense expense of Covid Zero controls, alongside a
slowing economy, has led to a ballooning debt burden for municipalities.
Repurposing that infrastructure could help them recoup at least some of the
Via The Fixer
February 15, 2023:
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics