Fri | Jul 10, 2020

Wuhan tests 10 million people, finds few infections

Published:Wednesday | June 3, 2020 | 5:13 PM
In this May 15, 2020 file photo, people line up for medical workers to take swabs for the coronavirus test at a large factory in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. (Chinatopix Via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected late last year, has tested nearly 10 million people in an unprecedented 19-day campaign to check an entire city.

It identified just 300 positive cases, all of whom had no symptoms.

The city found no infections among 1,174 close contacts of the people who tested positive, suggesting they were not spreading it easily to others.

That is a potentially encouraging development because of widespread concern that infected people without symptoms could be silent spreaders of the disease.

“It not only makes the people of Wuhan feel at ease, it also increases people’s confidence in all of China,” Feng Zijian, vice director of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told state broadcaster CCTV.

There is no definitive answer yet on the level of risk posed by asymptomatic cases, with anecdotal evidence and studies to date producing conflicting answers.

Wuhan was by far the hardest hit city in China, accounting for more than 80% of the country’s deaths, according to government figures.

A city official announced Tuesday that the city completed 9.9 million tests from May 14 to June 1.

If those tested previously are included, virtually everyone above the age of 5 in the city of 11 million people has been tested, said Li Lanjuan, a member of a National Health Commission expert team.

“The city of Wuhan is safe,” she said at a news conference with city officials.

The campaign was launched after a small cluster of cases was found in a residential compound, sparking concern about a possible second wave of infections as Wuhan emerged from a 2 1/2 month lockdown.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.