The city of Wuhan, China, where the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 originated, plans to test all 11 million residents after discovering six new cases in the city over the weekend, according to Business Insider.
Chinese authorities claimed the city had seen no new coronavirus infections in the previous 35 days, although statistics coming from the Chinese government are severely unreliable. The city lifted lockdown restrictions on April 8.
The six new cases are reportedly linked to an 89-year-old man who first experienced symptoms on March 17 but never went to the doctor. He was previously believed to have recovered after 10 days. The man tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.
China’s chief epidemiologist, Wu Zunyou, told state TV that in some patients, the course of the disease can last 30 to 50 days—potentially taking longer to manifest itself in older patients with weaker immune systems.
Five other people in the same residential compound as the man also tested positive, launching the city into a mass testing effort. From Business Insider:
On Monday, the epidemic prevention and control headquarters of Wuhan issued an emergency notice requiring district authorities to submit plans for mass testing on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Elderly and infirm people are to be tested first, followed by those living in densely populated areas and places with large migrant populations.
At least 1 million people have been tested so far, The Post said, citing the Yicai financial news website.
China knew about the COVID-19 outbreak for a week or more in January before taking action and alerting the rest of the world, and by the time they did so, it was likely too late too prevent a pandemic. Recently, China has pushed propaganda efforts to blame the United States for the pandemic, and there is evidence that the communist nation has concealed thousands of deaths from the virus.