Chinese firm cooperates with Saudi Arabia to build six COVID-19 testing labs

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/27 12:08:40

A worker tests equipment at a BGI Huo-Yan Lab in China. The Shenzhen-based company has built more than a dozen such facilities across China, which are a crucial part of China's strategy to fight the epidemic. Photo: Courtesy of BGI

Saudi Arabia's National Unified Procurement Company (NUPCO) and a Chinese company signed a cooperation agreement in Riyadh on Sunday (local time) to build six major laboratories including a mobile laboratory to increase the country's coronavirus testing capacity. Once finished, the laboratories will boost local coronavirus testing capacity to 50,000 people per day and provide 9 million testing kits. 

The Saudi government's decision to procure "Huo-yan Laboratories" - COVID-19 testing labs developed by Chinese genomics giant BGI - aims to provide tests for 30 percent of the nation's population within eight months, according to a statement BGI sent to the Global Times on Monday. 

The $265 million deal will see the Chinese firm provide coronavirus testing equipment, testing kits and laboratory design plans to Saudi Arabia, according to media reports. 

Such cooperation will support Saudi Arabia's coronavirus prevention and control efforts and solidify long-term friendly relations between Saudi Arabia and China, said Abdullah Alrabeeah, director at the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, China's official media CCTV reported. 

Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing agreed that China and Saudi Arabia are "real friends and good partners" that help and support one another, and have become a role model for international cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus. 

"Huo-yan Laboratories played a significant role in Wuhan's fight against the coronavirus and have been proven effective," founder and CEO of BGI Wang Jian said, adding that the company is willing to share its successful experience in Wuhan with its friends in Saudi Arabia.

Huo-yan Laboratories have been adopted by at least 10 countries around the world thus far. 

According to the Saudi health authority on Sunday, the country has recorded 17,522 coronavirus cases, including 139 deaths. A total of 2,357 have recovered and been discharged. 

Due to the holy month of Ramadan, Saudi Arabia has relaxed curfew rules in some parts of the country. 

Global Times 


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