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Thursday, April 09, 2020, 18:06
COVID-19: China intensifies asymptomatic screening
By Xinhua
Thursday, April 09, 2020, 18:06 By Xinhua

Pedestrians wearing face masks cross a street in Beijing on April 8, 2020. (WANG ZHAO / AFP)

BEIJING - China has urged intensified detection and prompt response to people infected with the novel coronavirus but showing no symptoms, according to a circular issued by the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council.

Asymptomatic cases refer to people who test positive for the coronavirus but develop no symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat, according to the circular, noting that they pose a risk of spreading to others.

Asymptomatic screening should be targeted at close contacts of confirmed patients, people involved in cluster outbreaks, those exposed to COVID-19 and travelers from areas with high risks of infections, according to a circular

Screening of asymptomatic patients should be stepped up, targeting close contacts of confirmed patients, people involved in cluster outbreaks, those exposed to COVID-19 and travelers from areas with high risks of infections, according to the circular.

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Nationwide hospitals and disease control departments are required to take prompt actions once asymptomatic carriers are detected, according to the circular.

In addition, medical institutions are ordered to report infections to their superior disease control departments within two hours after asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers are detected through a direct web-based system.

Meanwhile, an epidemiological survey including a contact investigation should be completed within 24 hours by disease control departments, according to the circular.

Once verified, asymptomatic carriers will be put under concentrated medical observation for 14 days and can only be released from quarantine upon two consecutive negative nucleic acid test results, with a sampling interval of more than 24 hours, according to the circular.

READ MORE: Nation adds asymptomatic cases to total

An additional 14-day medical observation is still necessary for asymptomatic patients who have been discharged from concentrated quarantine, according to the document. The patients are required to undergo follow-up physical examinations in hospitals over the two weeks. 

Close contacts of asymptomatic cases should also be put under concentrated medical observation for 14 days.

Since April 1, the National Health Commission has started to incorporate information on asymptomatic cases in its daily report to timely respond to social concerns.

As of Wednesday, a total of 1,104 asymptomatic cases, including 364 imported from abroad, were still under medical observation on the Chinese mainland, the commission said in its daily report. 


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