Wuhan begins nucleic acid test on all its residents

Beijing, May 13 (efe-epa).- The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first cases of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection were detected, began testing its entire 11 million population on Wednesday after the virus resurfaced in the city during the weekend infecting six people.

Several residential complexes began conducting these tests on Wednesday, according to local media reports. The Xinjing Bao newspaper published images showing several dozen residents of the city’s Zong Guan area undergoing the test.

Local officials confirmed to EFE that different residential complexes were carrying out a survey of those living in them before beginning the tests.

A Wuhan health official told Caixin financial newspaper that the city authorities had called for the tests to be carried out in 10 days, but the detailed requirements and measures continue to be discussed.

An official from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention cited by Caixin said the measure is more expensive than effective, partly because of the low rate of infection in China and questions about the reliability of a single test, given that there have been multiple cases of infected people whose results were negative during initial testing.

In the same vein, the Center’s chief epidemiologist, Wu Zunyao, said in a televised interview on Tuesday that large-scale testing should focus on the most vulnerable groups and areas, and that there was no need to test everyone.

Municipal health authorities said around the end of last month that more than one million inhabitants had already undergone these tests, leaving another 10 million to be tested between now and May 23. Wuhan’s testing capacity was 46,000 people a day last month.

Caixin estimated that nucleic acid tests on Wuhan residents would cost 1.8 billion yuan ($254 million).

Moreover, the instructions for these mass tests are yet to reach everyone affected.

“I have heard that the government wants to conduct tests on everyone in Wuhan, but I have received no order yet,” a Wuhan resident, who did not want to be named, told EFE.

Until May 9, when the virus was found to have resurfaced in the city, the entire Hubei province – of which Wuhan is the capital – had recorded a streak of 35 consecutive days without detecting any coronavirus infection, according to official data.

Since the start of the pandemic, Wuhan has detected 50,339 infections, resulting in 3,869 deaths.

Meanwhile, the city of Huangzhou, also in Hubei, will make all middle school staff and senior students undergo antibody testing every two weeks once schools reopen at the end of the month.

For its part, the northeastern province of Jilin recorded six new cases on Wednesday, taking the total to 30 new cases in the last week.

After Hubei Province, northeastern China has been the place of concern for local authorities, who in recent weeks have been forced to close the border with Russia after detecting infected Chinese citizens returning from Russian territory.

Although initially the problem was limited to Heilongjiang Province – where another “express hospital” was built to combat the outbreak – new cases of local transmission have been discovered in Jilin and neighboring Liaoning province in recent days.

According to the National Health Commission on Wednesday, there were 104 active cases in the Asian country, and 10 of them were in serious condition. EFE-EPA


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