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BEIJING: China’s aggressive testing of about 10 million people for coronavirus in Wuhan, the first epicentre of the virus outbreak, has not revealed new confirmed Covid-19 cases but 300 asymptomatic carriers, officials said.
A total of 300 asymptomatic patients were found after 9.89 million people were tested in China’s worst-hit city Wuhan with no confirmed Covid-19 cases, the city government said on Tuesday.
The mass testing was carried out at a cost 900 million yuan ($126 million), it said.
Asymptomatic cases also known as silent spreaders pose a problem as the patients are tested Covid-19 positive but develop no symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat. However, they pose a risk of spreading the disease to others.
The results not only whisked off foreign media’s baseless accusation that there were massive numbers of asymptomatic virus carriers in Wuhan, but also served as an unquestionable milestone to China’s virus battle, and cemented the country’s phased victory over the horrifying virus, a report in the state-run Global Times said.
Since the coronavirus outbreak in December last year in Wuhan, China has vehemently denied allegations of under-reporting cases and deaths by US President Donald Trump.
Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, so far had 50,340 confirmed coronavirus cases since January of which 3,869 people have died, according to the local health commission report.
As of Monday, the overall confirmed coronavirus cases in China had reached 83,022, including 73 patients still being treated, 78,315 people who had been discharged after recovery, and 4,634 people who died of the disease, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported on Tuesday.
Wuhan has reported a string of asymptomatic cases since it came out of a 76-day lockdown in April, prompting officials to opt for mass testing of 11.2 million population to get sense of the prevalence of the virus in the city.
The NHC said on Tuesday that five imported cases and 10 asymptomatic cases were reported in the country on Monday. So far, 371 asymptomatic cases, including 39 from overseas, were still under medical observation, it said.
According to local health commission in Wuhan, 320 people with asymptomatic infection were under quarantine in the city.
From May 14 to Tuesday, Wuhan has tested 9.89 million people and found no confirmed cases, only 300 asymptomatic patients, accounting for 0.00303 per cent of the total tested population, said Lu Zuxun, a public health professor at Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
Lu said that the percentage of asymptomatic patients is extremely low in Wuhan and they have tested those patients, along with items they have touched, and whisked off the possibility that those patients were contagious.
Wang Weihua, an official at Wuhan’s health commission, said that to accomplish the massive testing, the city increased its nucleic test institutes from 23 to 63 and added more personnel in the test.
The city also combined test methods from single testing with sample polling, with no more than five samples in one group, Wang said, adding that such a measure has greatly improved testing efficiency within a short notice.
With such measures, Wuhan has increased its daily testing capacity from 300,000 people to 1 million, Wang said.