Wuhan has started to test all of its 11 million residents within 10 days as the rest of the country prepares to reopen entertainment facilities despite rising fears of a second outbreak.
Pictures from today show people lining up in their residential compounds or workplaces as the city-wide mass-testing takes place.
The city where the pandemic first emerged is scrambling to prevent a fresh outbreak with the mass-testing after a new cluster reappeared over the weekend, stoking concerns of a wider resurgence of the disease.
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities published guidelines Thursday to encourage theatres, internet cafes and other entertainment facilities to welcome customers again after being closed for nearly four months.
The city where the pandemic first emerged is scrambling to prevent a fresh outbreak with the city-wide testing after a new cluster reappeared over the weekend, stoking concerns of a wider resurgence of the disease.
Wuhan ordered all of its 11million citizens to be tested for COVID-19 in a ’10-day great battle’ to avoid a comeback of the killer infection, according to a directive released on May 11.
Pictures show people lining up in their residential compounds or workplaces since Tuesday as the city-wide mass-testing takes place.
But officials said yesterday that only the residents who never received a nucleic acid test before would be screened, according to state media People’s Daily.
Three million Wuhan citizens have been tested before the ambitious plan was announced, Chinese media report. This means that the former epicentre needs to screen approximately 800,000 people per day.
The ’10-day great battle’ is estimated to cost the Wuhan government one billion yuan (£115million), according to Health News, the media outlet of the National Health Commission.
It came after officials reported the first cluster of infections in Wuhan since a lockdown on the central Chinese city was lifted a month ago, stoking concerns of a wider resurgence of the disease.
The six confirmed cases in Wuhan all live in the same residential compound, Sanmin Residence. A total of 70,000 residents from the complex and nearby areas have been screened for COVID-19 by the end of Tuesday, Chinese media report.
The order for all citizens to undergo testing appeared in an emergency document issued Monday night by the Wuhan Command Centre for the Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Pneumonia Epidemic to all of its district branches.
As of today, it remains unknown how many Wuhan residents have received the nucleic acid test, which detects the presence of the novel coronavirus in a person’s body.
The mass-testing comes as China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism published guidelines yesterday to encourage entertainment facilities – including theatres and internet cafes – to reopen following the coronavirus lockdown.
Theatres are only allowed to have 30 per cent of their seats filled with the audience, who must sit at least one metre (three feet) apart.
Other facilities – such as internet cafes and karaoke bars – are allowed to welcome 50 per cent of the venue’s customer capacity.
It still remains unclear when the cinemas across China would reopen to the public. The nation’s film industry has reportedly suffered a huge economic loss due to the coronavirus lockdown.
The country’s official death toll remains at 4,633, while the total number of infections in the mainland is 84,469.
In Wuhan, 3,869 people have died of COVID-19, and 50,339 have so far been infected, according to Wuhan Health Commission.