Pictures have captured Wuhan residents neglecting social distancing as thousands queue for COVID-19 tests on the day the city nearly doubled its daily testing figure.
The Wuhan Health Commission updated its mass testing statistics on May 20, saying it had screened 856,128 on May 19, up from 467,847 a day earlier.
The capital of Hubei Province in Central China is in a ’10-day battle’ to have every single one of its 11 million citizens undergo a nucleic acid test before May 24.
The ambitious campaign began on May 14 with a focus on identifying and isolating asymptomatic carriers who may trigger a second outbreak despite showing no outward signs of the killer disease.
All 13 of Wuhan’s districts have been ordered to come up with their own mass testing plan, but images on the ground show some areas doing better than others when it comes to ensuring crowd safety.
On Tuesday, pictures from Huangpu Community in Wuhan’s Jiang’an District, showed swathes of people queueing shoulder to shoulder in a narrow alleyway.
Witnesses said the locals were waiting their turn outside a swabbing station, where they would undergo a three-minute test free of charge.
The images have raised concerns that otherwise healthy individuals might inadvertently become infected with COVID-19 while following government advice to undergo nucleic acid tests.
The screenings are so far not mandatory, but officials say taking part is the “responsible” thing to do.
However, those wishing to return to schools, work, or access public transport will need to provide proof that they are virus-free.
Wuhan’s municipal health authority said the testing campaign discovered 13 new asymptomatic carriers on Tuesday, bringing the total since May 14 to 71, as well as one additional confirmed case.
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