Crowds at Wuhan clinics fear coronavirus testing could rekindle COVID-19

New cases have spurred authorities to launch a citywide search for asymptomatic carriers

Published:  May 16, 2020 10:02
Reuters  and  Compiled by Karishma Nankdeolyar

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Wuhan testing
As Wuhan, the Chinese city where the COVID-19 pandemic began, revs up a massive testing campaign, some residents crowding the test centres expressed concern on Saturday that the very act of getting tested could expose them to the coronavirus.Image Credit: Agencies

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Wuhan testing
Safety has become a hot topic on social media groups among the 11 million residents of Wuhan, people told Reuters as they converged on open-air test sites at clinics and other facilities. Many said, though, that they support the voluntary campaign.Image Credit: Agencies

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Wuhan testing
Wuhan health authorities sprang back into action after confirming last weekend the central Chinese city’s first cluster of new infections since it was released from virtual lockdown on April 8.Image Credit: Reuters

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Wuhan testing
The new cases – all of them people who had previously shown no symptoms of the disease – spurred Wuhan authorities to launch a citywide search for asymptomatic carriers of the virus, aiming to gauge the level of COVID-19 risk. “Some people have expressed worry in the (social media) groups about the tests, which require people to cluster, and whether there’s any infection risk,” said one Wuhan resident who asked not to be named. “But others rebutted those worries, saying such comments are not supportive of the government.”Image Credit: Reuters

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Wuhan testing
The unprecedented scale of testing indicates the official level of concern, some experts say. Others say it is an extremely costly exercise and question its effectiveness. At a testing kiosk in Jianghan district in central Wuhan, a volunteer was patrolling and spraying disinfectant at a long line of people.Image Credit: Reuters

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Wuhan testing
Many people observed social distancing, such as queuing 1 metre apart, and there were signs to remind them. But just as many did not. In some cases, volunteer workers were not insisting that they comply.Image Credit: Reuters

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Residents said the authorities have not told them when they would get the results of their tests.Image Credit: Reuters

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Residents said the authorities have not told them when they would get the results of their tests. China has confirmed 82,941 cases of COVID-19 as of Friday and 4,633 deaths. The government does not include people found to be asymptomatic carriers of the virus in its tally and does not publish a cumulative number of asymptomatic cases.Image Credit: AFP