China reports more than 1,300 asymptomatic coronavirus cases after public outcry

China Excluded Asymptomatic Coronavirus Cases From Official Numbers

China had 35 new cases of the disease on April 1, all of which were imported, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Thursday. With the country counting 2,004 active symptomatic cases Tuesday, those without signs of illness accounted for 41% of active infections.

The province also confirmed 37 asymptomatic COVID-19 patients bringing the total to 721, all of whom had been put under medical observation.

Many countries have shown interest in the candidate vaccine, and Chen said she and her team members are willing to cooperate with their global counterparts in the development of vaccines for the highly infectious disease.

As of Wednesday, a total of 81,589 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 have been reported on the mainland, and 3,318 people had died of the disease.

On Wednesday, a county in the central province of Henan said it had banned people from leaving without proper authorisation, and prevented residents from leaving their homes for work without clearance following several coronavirus infections in the area. "Our analysis suggests that without the Wuhan travel ban and the national emergency response there would have been more than 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of Wuhan by that date".

The updates to epidemic reports follow at least two calls by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to focus on containing asymptomatic carriers, which numerous studies have shown to be contagious, as well as public calls for transparency about the size of this population. The NHC announced Tuesday that it would include the latest information on this group in its reports starting Wednesday in an effort to address public concerns.

Asymptomatic patients will be counted as confirmed cases once they start to show clinical symptoms, Chang said. It was unclear whether the 52 individuals were a cumulative total.

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The problem with not including asymptomatic patients in the official tally is that there is not enough scientific data to show what kind of impact these patients have.

Users of Chinese social media have expressed fear that carriers with no symptoms could be spreading the virus unknowingly, especially as authorities ease curbs on travel for previous hotspots now that infections have subsided.

The commission also found some cases in which people who have come into contact with an asymptomatic carrier have become ill in what is described as a cluster of infections.

Mainland China has recorded a total of 1,367 asymptomatic cases, the commission said, adding that they are still under medical observation.

Both asymptomatic cases and their close contacts will be quarantined in centralised facilities for 14 days.

China says it tracks and quarantines asymptomatic cases and reclassifies them as confirmed cases if and when they develop symptoms. According to data Caixin obtained, asymptomatic individuals accounted for more than one in six detected infections in the province of Heilongjiang on February 25.

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