Authorities in the Chinese city where the novel coronavirus has surfaced launched an ambitious campaign on Wednesday to test all 11 million residents after a series of new cases raised fears of a second wave of infections.
At least two of the city's main districts have made house-to-house announcements about the campaign and sent online questionnaires about community workers to get information about tests done by people and whether they belong to a high-risk group, residents said .
"In order to better use nucleic acid tests as a monitoring tool and to meet the requirements of the state cabinet to expand the tests, we decided after testing to carry out tests for all residents," said a questionnaire sent to residents of the Wuchang urban area became district that has a population of approximately 1.2 million.
Wuhan was suspended on January 23 and was only released on April 8. Six new cases were reported over the weekend, the first infections since curb removal.
Reuters reported Monday, citing an internal document to district officials, that the city intends to run the 10-day city-wide nucleic acid test campaign.
The residents of two boroughs, Wuchang and Hankou, the latter with more than 2.6 million residents, said they would provide personal information by Wednesday including any history of nucleic acid testing and belonging to one of the 12-inch key groups, "said four residents and copies of questionnaires seen by Reuters.
The tests would include both nucleic acid and serum antibody tests, according to a Wuchang district announcement.
The 12 "key groups" include confirmed and asymptomatic coronavirus cases and their close contacts, people with fever, school, medical, transportation, banking, supermarket, and government employees, as well as people returning or planning to return to Wuhan Leaving work.
Asymptomatic cases or people who test positive but do not show clinical symptoms such as fever can spread the virus to others. China does not provide estimates of the number of such cases.
The Wuchang District said in its communication that it wanted to test all residents, but stressed that tests for those in the 12 categories "must achieve 100%."
Wuhan is divided into 13 districts and covers an area of approximately 8,500 km², almost as large as the New York metropolitan region.
The Wuhan government announced on April 23 that the city had 53 testing labs and 211 nucleic acid testing sites.
It was not clear when the tests would be conducted in Wuchang, but some Hankou residents said the tests started there.
The Wuhan government PR office was not immediately available to comment on the campaign.
An official on the city government's "Mayor Hotline" confirmed the city's plan to test all residents, but told Reuters that the city's health department had not received notice of the official start of the tests.
Various neighborhoods could run tests at their own pace for now, the official said.
Since Wuhan lifted the block, the city has carried out an average of 47,000 tests per day and a total of more than 1.5 million tests, based on Reuters calculations based on daily reports from the city's health department.
Of China's total of nearly 83,000 confirmed infections, 50,339 were in Wuhan. The list does not contain asymptomatic cases.
According to authorities, more than 3,800 people have died from the virus in Wuhan, which is about 80% of deaths in China.
It is not clear whether the residents of Wuhan will have to pay for their test or whether the local government will cover the costs.
Hubei provincial authorities have gradually reduced testing costs and recently limited prices for nucleic acid and IgM / IgG antibody tests to 180 yuan ($ 25) and 50 yuan ($ 7), respectively, the Changjiang Daily said.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)