AGENCIES, Beijing: It’s good to know that China has successfully slowed the spread of coronavirus especially at ground zero in Wuhan, where life is limping back to normal.
However, Chinese health authorities are not taking any chances and precautionary drills are being carried out.
Now, a new mystery is baffling the doctors in China: Why are patients who had recovered from the Covid-19 virus continue to test positive without showing symptoms.
Those patients all tested negative for the virus at some point after recovering, but then tested positive again, some up to 70 days later, the doctors have observed. Many have done so over 50-60 days.
The prospect of people remaining positive for the virus, and therefore potentially infectious, is of international concern, as many countries seek to end lockdowns and resume economic activity as the spread of the virus slows.
Currently, the globally recommended isolation period after exposure is 14 days.
China has not published precise figures for how many patients fall into this category. But according to Reuters, there are at least dozens of such cases.
In neighbouring South Korea, about 1,000 people have been testing positive for four weeks or more. In Italy, the first European country ravaged by the pandemic, health officials noticed that coronavirus patients could test positive for the virus for about a month.
“We did not see anything like this during SARS,” said Yuan Yufeng, a vice president at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan, referring to the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak that infected 8,098 people globally, mostly in China.