Coronavirus: 14 per cent of recovered patients in China test positive again

Coronavirus: 14 per cent of recovered patients in China test positive again

Up to 14 per cent of the recovered coronavirus patients in China have tested positive again, medical experts have revealed. Research showed about thre

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Up to 14 per cent of the recovered coronavirus patients in China have tested positive again, medical experts have revealed. Research showed about three to 14 per cent of the former patients were diagnosed with the virus once more after being given the all-clear.

The news came as experts feared that China is facing a second outbreak due to the increasing number of imported cases as well as the ‘silent carriers’ who show no symptoms. Doctors in one hospital in Wuhan found that five of the 147 patients in a study tested positive again after recovery, Wang Wei, director of the city’s Tongji Hospital, told the state broadcaster CCTV yesterday.

Meanwhile, 14 per cent of those who recovered were diagnosed with the pathogen later in southern China’s Guangdong Province, said Song Tie, deputy director of the provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.  In the study conducted by the Wuhan medics, the recovered patients showed no symptoms after testing positive again. But the researchers found no evidence that they became infectious after recovery as their family members all tested negative. Guangdong officials also suggested the people in close contact with such recovered patients weren’t infected by them.

Medical experts have raised questions about if nucleic acid tests are reliable in detecting traces of the virus in some of the recovered patients.
‘It’s possible that these recovered patients tested negative before because of false results,’ Mr Wang added. ‘The accuracy of a nucleic acid test is 30 to 50 per cent.’

The chief doctor said it was crucial to closely monitor recovered patients and put them under two-week quarantine after discharge.

Other reports suggested that the number of people infected with coronavirus who show no or delayed symptoms could be as high as one-third of those who test positive for the disease.

Scientists are currently unable to agree on what role asymptomatic transmission plays in spreading the disease and how infectious people with no symptoms are.

China had discharged 74,051 patients – over 90 per cent of its infected cases – from hospitals as of yesterday, according to official statistics. Globally, over 430,000 people are infected with the deadly disease and nearly 20,000 people have died.