Beijing staff photographer Mark Schiefelbein received an unexpected call last week: An official from his neighborhood association told him to report for a coronavirus test. He had been identified – probably tracked through his phone – as someone who had been in the vicinity of a market at the center of a new outbreak in the Chinese capital.
Schiefelbein turned the unpleasant test into an opportunity, discreetly taking photos and reporting a first-person account from inside Beijing’s coronavirus testing program, where AP and other foreign media had been barred. His account included the voices of others who had been similarly linked to the marked, some whom groused that they had merely driven by the market on a highway. The story and photo gallery gave our audience a distinctive look inside the testing process as the Beijing outbreak drew global attention. The package received strong play, and Schiefelbein was interviewed about the experience by BBC.