Wuhan to test all residents in 10 days as new cases emerge

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Millions of people in Wuhan will be tested for the novel coronavirus within the coming days, after a new cluster of cases emerged despite a strict 76-day lockdown that was intended to eliminate the virus from the central Chinese city.

Over the weekend, six new cases were reported in the city, the first in 35 consecutive days. None of the new cases were imported from overseas, sparking concern that the infection could still be spreading in the city where the virus is thought to have first emerged.

In response to the outbreak, authorities in Wuhan will conduct city-wide nucleic acid testing over a period of 10 days, according to an emergency notice issued by local authorities and circulated by state run media outlet The Paper.

Nucleic acid tests work by detecting the virus’ genetic code, and can be more effective at detecting the infection, particularly in the early stages, than tests which examine a body’s immune response, though the latter are easier to conduct.

The ambitious screening drive, described in the report as a “ten-day battle,” could see up to 11 million people tested — more than the entire population of Greece.