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China to test entire population of Qingdao over nine days

Published on 12/10/20 at 01:38pm

China plans to test the entire city of Qingdao, containing nine million people, for coronavirus over a period of five days. 

The mass testing follows the discovery of multiple cases linked to a hospital that is treating COVID-19 patients arriving from abroad. The Qingdao Municipal Health Commission posted on the social media site Weibo that there had been six symptomatic cases and six other asymptomatic cases.

114,862 people have already tested negative for the virus, and testing centres have been open from 07:00 to 23:00. 

The mass testing scheme comes after the region saw 4.47 million passenger trips over this period due to China’s Gold Week holiday. 

This is another stage of the Chinese strategy of mass testing even when a new cluster is relatively minor in size. In May, China tested the entire city of Wuhan which contained 11 million people. The figure is estimated to be closer to nine million, and used batch testing. This saw a batch of between five and ten people tested at a time, mostly people who lived or worked together. Only if a sample tested positive would the team go back to carry out individual tests to see who was positive within the batch. 

Although there is still speculation in the West of the extent of coronavirus in China, the country has officially recorded 91,305 virus cases with a death toll of 4,746. Despite the exact validity of these figures, mass testing programs like the ones carried out in Wuhan and Qingdao have helped the nation get the virus under relative control.

Conor Kavanagh

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