Wuhan says expanded nucleic acid tests to be free of charge

Wuhan will not charge individual testees as the central Chinese city moves to expand its nucleic acid tests to cover all residents who have not been tested for the novel coronavirus.

The city's health commission said in a statement that the costs of the tests will be borne by the district and municipal governments, and no personal payment is required.

Wuhan last week announced its plan to expand nucleic acid tests in order to better know the number of asymptomatic cases, or people who show no clear symptoms despite carrying the virus.

The decision was made as the city, hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, continued to report daily increases of asymptomatic infections, raising public concerns as Wuhan reopens its factories, businesses and schools.

The testing will give priority to residential compounds that had previously reported infections, as well as old and densely populated buildings. Children under six are not advised to take the tests.

To minimize cross-infection risks, the commission said they will set up open-air testing sites in residential compounds and remind residents to maintain distance when lining up for the tests.

Door-to-door sampling can be arranged for those who have trouble visiting the testing sites, it said.

Wuhan earlier this month reported six new confirmed cases of COVID-19, ending the zero-increase record it had held since April 4. All of the new infections were previously asymptomatic cases from one old residential compound.