Wuhan’s mass tests may have eradicated the coronavirus

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Photographer: Hector Retamal / AFP via Getty Images

Wuhan authorities said they did not find any new cases of “silent broadcasters” for the first time in almost two months, while the city’s aggressive push to test its entire population appears to have succeeded in breaking the hidden transmission chains.

Of the 60,000 people tested on Sunday, no cases of asymptomatic infection were found,Wuhan municipal health commission said on Monday. In an ambitious effort to guard against a resurgence of cases, Wuhan is testing all 11 million people for the virus and has found some 200 asymptomatic cases in the past two weeks.

The presence of infected people who show no outward signs of disease but can nevertheless infecta barrier to global efforts to contain the coronavirus, and one of the main reasons the pandemic spread so widely and rapidly. In countries where testing remains insufficient, there is no way to detect and isolate these carriers before they infect others.

How China tested 11 million people for the virus in just two weeks

By identifying asymptomatic carriers in the city, the Wuhan test blitz could allow the city where the virus first appeared to eradicate the pathogen from its people. But his method is probably out of reach for other countries and even the big Chinese cities because it requires a massive mobilization of resources and the full cooperation of the inhabitants.

Wuhan residents were probably more willing to show up for tests given the scars the epidemic left on the besieged city, which was closed for almost three months to contain the spread of the virus, even as its system local medical almost collapsed under pressure from the outbreak. Of the more than 4,600 deaths reported by Covid-19 in China, about 80% occurred in Wuhan.

Many countries, from developing countries like India and Indonesia to western countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, are still struggling to provide testing for anyone with symptoms, let alone those who don’t have one.

Why a new cluster of viruses in China raises alarms: QuickTake

During the mass testing process, Wuhan found several dozen asymptomatic cases daily. The number dropped to a single digit at the end of the tests, according to daily data released by the local health commission.

Although it has mastered its epidemic, China remains on high alert for sporadic infections which are likely to cause asecondary homes. A city in its northeastern Heilongjiang provinceinterrupted most of its train services last week after five asymptomatic cases were reported in one day.

In the neighboring provinces of Jilin and Liaoning, aa group of more than 40 infections has led authorities to impose lockdowns on an area of ​​100 million people. How this cluster started remains a mystery.

– With the help of Sharon Chen and Dong Lyu

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