The Chinese city of Wuhan is working on plans for Covid-19 to check the entire population of 11 million people.
The program seems to be in its early stages, with all districts in Wuhan being asked to send information about how to perform testing within 10 days.
Millions of residents in Wuhan will be screened for the novel coronavirus in the coming days, following the discovery of a new cluster of cases amid a tight 76-day lockdown aimed at removing the virus from the central Chinese region.
Six new cases were registered in the town over the weekend, the first in 35 consecutive days. Most of the recent infections have been imported from abroad, raising fear that the outbreak may still spreading in the region where the virus was first believed to have originated.
According to an emergency notice provided by local authorities and published by state-run media outlet The Magazine, officials in Wuhan will perform city-wide nucleic acid tests over a span of 10 days.
Nucleic acid testing works by decoding the genetic code of the virus, which can be more successful in decoding the infection, particularly in the early stages, than measuring the immune response of a body, although the latter is easier to do.
The aggressive screening campaign, described in the study as a “ten-day battle,” could see as many as 11 million people screened — more than the entire population of Greece.
People have posed concerns about how in only a couple of days such a vast number of tests can be carried out.
“Too many people can not be tested,” said one user, who also asked how much it would cost.
Another said these experiments should have been done before Wuhan opened its doors to the rest of China again.
However, several senior health officials cited by the Global Times newspaper suggested that it would be impracticable and impractical to check the whole region.
Instead of that, Peng Zhiyong, director of the Zhongnan Hospital Intensive Care Unit at Wuhan University, was likely to target emergency staff, elderly people, and those who had regular contact with a case.
Another director of Wuhan University indicated that a substantial percentage of Wuhan’s population — around 3-5 million — was already tested, and Wuhan was “capable” of measuring the remaining 6-8 million within 10 days.
Wuhan is not the only part of the country with new cases reported. Shulan city, in Jilin province in the far northeast of the country, was put under “wartime control mode” on Sunday, after 11 people were found to be infected with the virus.