Over 887,000 coronavirus tests conducted in one day in China’s Wuhan, officials say

Residents wearing face masks line up for nucleic acid testings at a residential compound in Wuhan on May 17, 2020. (Reuters)

The city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak in China, conducted 887,321 nucleic acid tests on May 20, the local health authority said on Thursday, compared with 856,128 a day earlier.

Wuhan kicked off a campaign on May 14 to look for asymptomatic carriers - infected people who show no outward sign of illness - after confirming on May 9-10 its first cluster of COVID-19 infections since its release from a virtual lockdown on April 8.

Wuhan also announced it has issued a total ban on the hunting, breeding and human consumption of wild animals. That is an apparent response to research showing the virus most likely originated among bats and was transmitted to people via an intermediary wild species sold at a food market in the city.

A Chinese vendor handling chickens at a poultry market in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province. (File photo: AP)

A Chinese vendor handling chickens at a poultry market in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province. (File photo: AP)

The regulation issued Wednesday seeks to carry out measures passed at the national level covering protected land animals as well as sea life, promising financial relief to help dealers move into other lines of business.

However, it contains numerous exceptions, including for animals used for traditional Chinese medicine, as long as they are not consumed as food for humans.

That left it unclear whether the ban would cover pangolins, small mammals whose scales are used for traditional Chinese medicine but which are thought to have been the intermediary carrier of the virus.

The regulation will be enforced immediately and will be in effect for five years.

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Last Update: 14:00 KSA 17:00 - GMT 14:00
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