Chinese state media: Wuhan conducted 6.5 million coronavirus tests in 9 days

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Authorities in Wuhan, China, say that they have conducted around 6.5 million coronavirus tests among city residents in just over a week as authorities try to prevent a second outbreak from spreading.

Reports on CCTV and news outlet Caixin translated by CNN revealed that authorities said they have begun “pool testing,” or the gathering of multiple samples into the same receptacle for mass testing with further tests necessary if any positive results are uncovered. The process does not allow for individual results, but does allow authorities to dramatically improve the speed of testing.

“Since the launch of the Wuhan centralized nucleic acid test on May 15, as of May 24, more than 9 million residents have been sampled and more than 6.5 million have been tested,” reads CCTV’s report.

City officials conducted 1.47 million tests on Friday alone, the report continued.

The total number of tests accounts for about 80 percent of Wuhan’s population, according to CCTV, with officials reportedly working to reach disabled and elderly residents stuck at home and unable to venture to testing sites. The city became known earlier this year as the first major hot spot where the virus was reported.

China’s newest tests include nucleic acid testing, which experts say can be more effective in reporting the virus during its early stages, according to CNN.

If true, the numbers out of China would dwarf the largest number of tests performed in the U.S. in one day, 416,183, though U.S. officials, including top members of the Trump administration, have frequently cast doubt on the accuracy of data being reported by Chinese officials.

During a news briefing in February, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hit Chinese and Iranian authorities, whom he accused of hiding the total number of coronavirus infections in their countries.

“Had China permitted its own — and foreign journalists and medical personnel — to speak and investigate freely, Chinese officials and other nations would have been far better prepared to address the challenge,” he said at the time.

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