China's Wuhan says it has tested nearly a third of residents for coronaviruses since April

SHANGHAI/BEIJING: Wuhan, the original epicenter of China's new coronavirus outbreak, has screened more than 3 million residents for the pathogen since April, and will now focus its testing efforts on the rest of its 11 million inhabitants, according to state media.

Wuhan will carry out tests on all city residents, with the aim of obtaining a clear number of asymptomatic cases as companies and schools reopen, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday night.

The priority will be residents who have not been screened before, people living in residential complexes that had previous cases of the virus, as well as old or densely populated farms, Xinhua said, citing a Wuhan government meeting.

Wuhan reported on a group of infections over the weekend, the first since the city's virtual closure was lifted on April 8, raising fears of a second wave. The last infections were previously asymptomatic cases, people who had the virus but did not show symptoms such as fever.

Reuters, citing an internal document to district officials, reported on May 11 that the city planned to carry out the city-wide nucleic acid testing campaign for 10 days.

Wuhan conducted 1.79 million tests from April 1 to May 13, according to Reuters calculations based on daily reports released by the city health commission.

The official test number for May 14 will be released on Friday.

Recently, Wuhan has detected between several and more than a dozen asymptomatic infections every day. Although all those people are treated in isolation, they still raise concern in society, Xinhua said.

Some experts say the massive tests are unprecedented in scale and show the level of concern. Others warn of possible test errors due to the large sample size.

On Friday, China reported four new confirmed cases on the mainland by May 14, compared to three cases the day before, the National Health Commission said in a statement on Friday.

All new cases were transmitted locally and the number of new asymptomatic cases decreased slightly to 11 from 12 a day earlier.

The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China is now 82,933, while the number of deaths remained unchanged at 4,633.

China does not include carriers of asymptomatic viruses in its confirmed case count. Nor does it reveal the total number of asymptomatic cases in the country.

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