Wuhan (China) | Jagran News Desk: The Chinese authorities has started a campaign to test all the 11 million residents of Wuhan, where the COVID-19 crisis broke out, in the next 10 days after new cases sparked fears of a second wave of the virus attack, said Chinese officials.

The order comes after the authorities discovered a cluster of six infected people at a residential compound in Wuhan. The sporadic cases cannot be ignored although the epidemic is in a generally stable state in the country at the moment, said National Health Commission (NHC) spokesperson Song Shuli.

“We need to stay alert and put in place measures for regular epidemic response to resolutely prevent new outbreaks,” Shuli said, as quoted by state-run Xinhua news agency.

The well-publicised testing in Wuhan came as a surprise as it was being done more than a month after the 76-day lockdown was lifted from the city on April 8. China has also opened up in a big way all over the country.

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Beijing has also announced plans to hold the annual parliament session of the National People's Congress on May 22.

According to a document sent from the health commission of Wuchang district in Wuhan, the testing period will start from Wednesday and lasts till May 20, Global Times reported.

China has reported 15 new coronavirus cases, including eight asymptomatic ones, while the epicenter of the deadly virus Wuhan city, has confirmed no new COVID-19 infection, health authorities said on Wednesday.

According to China's National Health Commission (NHC), seven new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported on Tuesday of which one is imported and the other six cases locally transmitted.

Also on Tuesday, eight new asymptomatic cases were reported taking their total to 750 including 598 in Wuhan, the NHC said.

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Asymptomatic cases refer to people who are tested COVID-19 positive but develop no symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat. However, they pose a risk of spreading the disease to others.

Hubei province and its capital Wuhan on April 8 lifted a prolonged lockdown clamped on January 23 as the disease spread through the region like wildfire. The city has prepared a 10-day plan to test all its residents.

By Tuesday, the death toll from the virus in Hubei province stood at 4,512, including 3,869 in Wuhan.

Hubei has so far reported 68,134 confirmed COVID-19 cases in total, including 50,339 in Wuhan.

Wuhan health authorities announced on Tuesday that all Wuhan residents will be targeted for the large-scale testing. The category of key clusters includes COVID-19 patients, silent carriers, suspected cases, patients with fever, and all close contacts of the above.

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In addition, the category also listed school staff, doctors and medical workers, transportation service personnel such as taxi and bus drivers, employees in public places, such as supermarkets, all volunteers and community workers, Party and government employees, and people inside and outside Wuhan.

Priority for testing will be given to key groups and older communities with dense and fluid populations. The fluid population will also be included in the testing.

Yang Zhanqiu, deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that based on what he knows, companies and schools will pay the bill of testing, which costs about 200 yuan (USD 28.2) per person.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma