Millions Tested In Wuhan Amid Fears Of Second COVID Wave

The Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero for the global pandemic, has conducted nearly seven million coronavirus tests in 12 days, Bloomberg News reported. 

The massive round of testing came after six new cases of the disease were reported in a Wuhan neighborhood earlier this month. These incidents were the first infections since China began to reopen after its 76-day lockdown ended in April, bringing fears of a possible second wave of the illness, the news service reported.

From May 15 to May 23, test samples were collected from more than nine million residents, as reported by China Central Television (CCTV), the government-owned television network, accounting for more than 80 percent of the city’s total population of 11 million.

The city offered tests to more than 1.1 million residents on May 23 alone. That’s more than 26 times the number completed on the first day, the Wuhan Health Commission told Bloomberg.

While China was taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, crowds packed Memorial Day hotspots across the U.S. and Canada. ABC News reported that people flocked to beaches and parks as states reopened for the holiday.

In Daytona Beach, Florida, police said they had to break up several crowds Saturday night where people were not wearing face coverings and were not social distancing. In one case, 200 people were packed on a street and appeared to have jumped onto a police car that was trying to clear the area, according to a helicopter video released by the sheriff’s office, ABC reported.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said he was angry about the number of people who failed to take the health precautions seriously. There were no arrests, he told the network. “We were trying to use our de-escalation techniques,” the chief said at a news conference Sunday. “We were able to push everyone off the peninsula.”

In Toronto, officials said they were upset after thousands of people packed Trinity Bellwoods Park on Saturday. Toronto Mayor John Tory sent additional police officers to the park Sunday to ensure that it didn’t get too crowded. “Gatherings like today’s at Trinity Bellwoods Park has the potential to set Toronto back in its efforts to beat COVID-19,” the mayor’s office said in a statement released Saturday.

In other COVID-19 testing news, two Chinese eCommerce giants – Alibaba Group and JD.com – have set up “booking services” to conduct tests for the virus. And in the U.S., CVS is planning to open 50+ drive-through testing sites, while Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has pushed for global testing.

As PYMNTS has reported, the challenges of reopening the economy after nearly two months of a near-total shutdown is a major challenge. It will require identifying the stakeholders, understanding their interdependencies and devising a strategy to build critical mass while aligning supply with demand.