Former COVID-19 epicentre Wuhan has reportedly been ‘purged’ of the coronavirus as officials announce an end to a mass testing blitz which cost the city more than 100 million GBP.
The capital city of China’s central province of Hubei tested 9.9 million people since city-wide COVID-19 swabs and antibody tests began on 14th May, the municipal health commission reported yesterday (2nd June).
The campaign dubbed the ‘10-day Battle’ helped the health authority identify more than 300 asymptomatic carriers of the virus – a rate of 3 per every 100,000 people in the city of 11 million.
In the final days of screening, no so-called ‘silent spreaders’ were discovered, the Wuhan Health Commission said.
The ambitious testing campaign began just days after a fresh cluster of COVID-19 cases were reported on 11th May and fears over a second wave of infections grew.
They were the first confirmed cases since 3rd April, and the first since the city lifted its 76-day lockdown lasting between 23rd January and 8th April.
Hu Yabo, the city’s deputy mayor, revealed that the COVID-19 screening blitz came at zero cost to residents, with the city footing the entirety of the 900-million-RMB (100.9 million GBP) bill.
Mr Hu, who called the expenditure “worthwhile”, revealed that the rapid testing project was completed with the help of batch screening, while others were tested individually.
According to reports, up to 10 COVID-19 swabs were placed together and analysed in order to reduce workload. A positive result would lead to all 10 individuals undergoing a second round of testing.
Wuhan, where the majority of China’s coronavirus deaths occurred, has reported 83,022 confirmed cases and 4,634 deaths since the start of the outbreak.
The city of Mudanjiang in north-eastern Heilongjiang Province announced on Monday (1st June) that it was following Wuhan’s footsteps in testing all 2.8 million residents within its territory.
The city on the border with Russia has been on high alert since the emergence of a second wave of infections in April, including many asymptomatic and imported cases as Chinese citizens flooded back across border checkpoints.
Like in Wuhan, gated communities have been tasked with testing their residents, while schools and public squares have been converted into emergency screening stations.
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