The Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, has conducted nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 on 9,899,828 people between May 14 and June 1, officials said at a press conference on Tuesday.
No confirmed cases were detected in the process of the citywide screening; however, 300 asymptomatic cases were identified and quarantined, according to Lu Zuxun, a public health expert from Wuhan’s Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Asymptomatic cases are not included in China’s tally of confirmed cases.
All those who came in close contact with the asymptomatic cases have tested negative for COVID-19, Lu said.
Last month, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission launched the citywide campaign to test the entire population of 11 million residents for COVID-19 in an effort to search for asymptomatic carriers of the virus after a cluster of new cases emerged for the first time since the city had lifted its strict lockdown on April 8. Although recommended, participation in the testing campaign was voluntary. Residents who were previously tested did not need to take part. It was not recommended to test children under the age of 6, according to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission’s website.
The tests were provided free of charge, and Wuhan’s deputy mayor Hu Yabo said the city spent some $126 million on the screening. He told reporters it was “totally worthwhile.”
The citywide campaign brought the total number of COVID-19 tests conducted in Wuhan since the start of the pandemic to 10.9 million, according to Chinese epidemiologist Li Lanjuan.
“Wuhan is now safe,” Li told reporters Tuesday, “and Wuhan people are safe.”