Wuhan testing blitz unearths 200 asymptomatic ‘superspreaders’

Wuhan’s coronavirus testing blitz – that saw more than nine million residents tested in just over a week – has been praised as a massive achievement for the city.

But the testing blitz, an attempt at stopping a second wave of infections in the city where coronavirus is believed to have originated, uncovered a worrying statistic.

Chinese state media reported the city’s nucleic acid testing drive came after six cases were found in Wuhan earlier this month, sparking fears the small spike in infections could trigger a second wave after the city came out of lockdown in April.

Between May 14 and May 23, close to seven million residents were tested. That number later grew to nine million – or 80 per cent of Wuhan’s population.

The state-run Health Times reported 198 of the positive cases found were asymptomatic – from people who are carrying the virus but have no idea.

Asymptomatic cases are often referred to as superspreaders as they’re typically unaware they have the virus due to showing no symptoms.

The city’s testing blitz quickly eclipsed the testing rate of other regions hit by coronavirus.

Wuhan recorded a whopping 1.47 million tests on Friday, according to state-run media, which is believed to be a global record for testing on a single day.

Australia by comparison hit 1.19 million total tests on Friday since the epidemic hit in January.

Wuhan set up 231 testing booths across the city last week and doorknocked elderly and disabled residents who were unable to show up at the booths.

Locals were able to quickly find out their results on the popular Chinese social media platform WeChat.

China reported seven new coronavirus cases yesterday, all brought into the country by Chinese citizens returning from abroad.

Just 81 patients remain hospitalised with COVID-19, and another 408 are in isolation and being monitored for either suspected cases or after testing positive for the virus without showing any symptoms.

China has reported a total of 4634 deaths from the disease among 82,992 cases.

With the decline in numbers, students have gradually returned to class and some international schools in the capital Beijing are preparing to re-open on June 1.

China is proceeding this week with the annual session of its ceremonial parliament, which is being held under social distancing restrictions.

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