How Did China Test an Entire City for Coronavirus? - COVID-19 Clinical Trial
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How Did China Test an Entire City for Coronavirus?

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    Since becoming the “ground zero” infection site of the coronavirus pandemic, Wuhan, China has been taking extreme measures to prevent additional cases of infection.  

    The city of 11 million residents reported the world’s first coronavirus cases in late December 2019 and quickly entered into an extreme state of lockdown. Restrictions finally eased in early April, but by early May authorities reported at least six new cases, the first in more than a month. 

    All six cases originated from the same residential area where an 89-year-old man was infected, but five of the people never developed symptoms. This led the city on a mission to find asymptomatic carriers and expand its testing efforts for all residents. 

    Wuhan Planned to Test 11 Million People in 10 Days 

    Wuhan authorities addressed their city’s new outbreak of infections by vowing to test all 11 million residents in just 10 days. They eased such an ambitious target by excluding all children under six years of age, as well as all residents already tested in the seven days prior. The target number of 11 million dropped even more after eliminating the residents who left Wuhan before the lockdown and never returned.  

    The 10-day program was officially announced on May 12, but soon after Wuhan authorities adjusted its testing process.  

    “Each district finishes its tests within 10 days from the date it started them,” the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control said, signaling an extension of the deadline beyond the original pledge.   

    Nearly 10 Million People Were Tested By June 1 

    In less than three weeks, city health authorities report they tested a total of 9.9 million Wuhan residents, marking an end to the mass testing program.  

    Such wide scale testing was unprecedented, but Wuhan authorities managed it by significantly boosting daily testing capacity. The city only had 60 testing centers when the pandemic began, each with a maximum capacity of 100,000 tests. By June first, a total of 249 testing centers were in operation.  

    Wuhan also sped along the mass testing process by implementing batch testing in about 25% of the tests. This type of batch testing grouped five to ten individual test samples together. Individual tests were only carried out if a batch proved positive.  

    Teams were also mobilized to test the elderly, disabled, and vulnerable who couldn’t leave their homes to receive testing. Overall, more than 1,450 testing staff members performed the mass testing program.  

    What Were the Results? 

    Overall, 97% of local communities across Wuhan reported no positive tests, according to the official data. Only 300 positive cases were uncovered, all without symptoms. The 300 positive cases were traced to 1,174 close contacts. 

    “The mass testing has gained Wuhan people’s relief,” said Hu Yabo, a deputy mayor of Wuhan. 


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