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12 Got Sick. Now, a City of 9M Will Be Tested in 5 Days

Entire population of China's Qingdao will get the COVID swab
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2020 8:54 AM CDT

(Newser) – While Americans are standing in long lines for early voting, millions of residents of Qingdao are queuing up for a different reason. The BBC reports that the Chinese city has taken on the ambitious quest to test its entire population—9 million or so—for COVID-19, after 12 infected patients emerged. Those locally transmitted cases, which involve six patients with symptoms and six without, have been tied to a hospital treating infected patients who came from outside of the country. City officials say that, as of Monday at noon, it had tested nearly 280,000 residents, and that it hoped to have all the testing done over a five-day period, per the Wall Street Journal.

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China has managed to get the virus under control by going into "wartime mode" to deal with local outbreaks, aggressively enforcing lockdowns, quarantines, and safety protocols. The BBC notes the city of Wuhan, where the pandemic originated, managed to pull off earlier this year a similar feat to what Qingdao is attempting, testing around the same number of people in 10 days. One way Wuhan was able to test so many people relatively quickly was by using "pool testing," which combines samples from a number of people to be tested; if the group sample comes back positive, then each individual sample in that group is then tested. (Read more China stories.)

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