Results of Mass Virus Tests in China Questioned as Severity of Latest Outbreak Remains Unknown

Results of Mass Virus Tests in China Questioned as Severity of Latest Outbreak Remains Unknown
A health worker takes a swab from a resident to be tested for the CCP virus as part of a mass testing program following a new outbreak of the coronavirus in Qingdao, a city located in eastern China's Shandong province, on Oct. 13, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)
Frank Fang

China’s northern city of Qingdao tested nearly 11 million local citizens after a local outbreak of the CCP virus and claimed that there were no positive cases. But the authorities’ claim failed to assuage concerns about the true scale of the health crisis.

The latest outbreak in Qingdao was confirmed by authorities on Oct. 11 when the municipal health commission reported eight asymptomatic cases and four confirmed cases of COVID-19, a disease caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. In China, asymptomatic cases are counted in a separate category.

The resurgence of new infections prompted Qingdao’s health commission to announce city-wide testing on Oct. 12, with the goal of testing every citizen in the city of 11 million within 5 days.

According to Chinese state-run media, as of 2 p.m. on Saturday, Qingdao health officials reported that 10.92 million samples were tested, all of which returned negative.

Local residents have expressed doubts about the authorities’ data and fear a cover-up.

The health commission has so far only reported that at least seven patients previously categorized as asymptomatic cases were showing symptoms of the virus, as well as several confirmed cases at the Qingdao Chest Hospital.

Ms. Ni, a resident living in Shandong Province where Qingdao is located, told The Epoch Times’s sister media NTD, that she was skeptical of Chinese health officials’ claims, given that the virus has been proven to be contagious.

One of the confirmed cases, a taxi driver with the surname Shao who was among the three asymptomatic cases announced by authorities on Oct. 11, came into contact with many people. According to state media Xinhua, Qingdao’s police chief Sui Ruwen said on Saturday that the man had picked up passengers 183 times between Sept. 29 and Oct. 10.

The police chief said the police tracked down the 231 passengers who took his taxi. All of them have been placed in quarantine or subjected to “management measures.” According to Sui, all tested negative for the virus.

Ni said that Chinese authorities have been known to cover up data, so she did not trust the information. She added that the two Chinese officials who were recently dismissed were “merely scapegoats”—by pinning the blame solely on them, public outrage would be tamped down, she said.

The director and Party secretary of Qingdao health commission Sui Zhenhua and deputy Party secretary and director of the Qingdao Chest Hospital were dismissed and placed under investigation.

Most of the infection cases reported in the past week were tied to the Chest Hospital. According to Chinese state-run media, 520 people were determined to have come into close contact with infected patients at the hospital.

Chinese health officials attributed the spread of the virus to improper disinfection at one of the hospital’s CT scan rooms.

A Qingdao resident surnamed Tai earlier this week told The Epoch Times that he did not “trust kits’ quality and accuracy.”

Qingdao’s mass test results were also being questioned by Taiwan’s Minister of Health and Welfare Cheng Shih-chung.

During a speech on public health given at a university in Taipei on Saturday, he said it was “impossible” to have millions of  negative tests since test kits generally have a certain percentage of being erroneous, giving either false-negative results or false-positive results,  according to Taiwan’s government-run Central News Agency.
Political commentator Zheng Zhongyua, in an interview with radio broadcaster Sound of Hope, said the mass tests showed "zero cases" because the Chinese regime wants to "maintain stability" ahead of an important political meeting, the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CCP's Central Committee.

On Sept. 28, Xinhua reported that the Fifth Plenary Session will be held from Oct. 26 to Oct. 29 in China's capital Beijing.

Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers U.S., China, and Taiwan news. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.