In Wuhan, residents crowding the test centres expressed concern as of May 16 that getting tested for the novel coronavirus could expose them to the disease. As China ramped up a testing campaign to detect the asymptomatic cases, health safety among the 11 million residents of Wuhan was at risk. As citizens converged on open-air test sites at clinics and other facilities, contracting the disease at such sites became of primary concern. Many said, though, that they supported the voluntary campaign, however, feared they could be infected, reports confirmed.
As early as last weekend, Wuhan health authorities resort to mass test, trace, isolate after central Chinese city's first cluster of new infections emerged since country suspended lockdown on April 8. As per state media reports, the fresh COVID-19 cases were recorded among people who had previously shown no symptoms of the disease. Hence, the authorities in the Wuhan, Hubei province, the once epicentre of the disease, launched a citywide stringent search operation for asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus, aiming to gauge the level of COVID-19 risk and eliminate the cluster transmissions.
On condition of anonymity, a resident was quoted saying that Chinese nationals took to state-run social media apps to express fears and discomfort about the tests facilities across the region which required people to cluster, a news report confirmed. Others rebutted those worries, saying such comments are not supportive of the government, as they worried to opine against the containment measure set up by the state administration.
According to some experts, the unprecedented scale of testing indicated the official level of concern and the possibility of a resurgence of the disease. Others, however, questioned its effectiveness and objected to the gathering of the crowd of people at the testing sites. At one such testing kiosk, in Jianghan district in central Wuhan, a volunteer was patrolling and spraying disinfectant at a long line of people who had been asked to assemble to test for the virus, a news outlet reported.
Queuing only 1 metre apart, and standing one after the other in a long line without appropriate social distancing, the crowd remained oblivious of the health hazards, as per media reports. In some cases, volunteer workers were not insisting that they comply with the safety norms to avoid the outbreak at such testing facilities. Also, many residents told the international media and state-run news reporters that the health officials had remained unclear whether the results would be handed to the public. The government in China does not publish a cumulative number of asymptomatic cases.
(Image Credit: AP)