Mar 28, 2020 12:44 PM

Chinese Premier Calls for Focus on Asymptomatic Coronavirus Cases

What’s new: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang directed officials to pay close attention to asymptomatic coronavirus cases amid growing concerns symptomless people may be able to spread the virus.

At a policymakers’ meeting on Thursday, Li called on China’s health authorities to investigate whether asymptomatic infections are contagious in order to inform future prevention and treatment plans, according to the State Council website.

The background: Premier Li acknowledged China’s early response had focused on symptomatic cases, and particularly on treating critical and severe Covid-19 cases, and said it was now time to step up preventive efforts.

New asymptomatic cases are found in China every day and there is preliminary evidence patients have contracted the disease from symptomless people, raising fears people may be spreading the disease unknowingly. It is unclear what proportion of coronavirus infections may be symptomless.

The question of asymptomatic infections has been controversial because China does not publicly release its count of people who have no clinical symptoms of Covid-19 but test positive for the virus that causes it. 

Such people are generally taken to isolation centers for further testing and for treatment if symptoms emerge over the next 14 days.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full Caixin article in Chinese, click here.

Related: Wuhan Finds First New Covid-19 Case in Five Days

Contact reporter Guo Yingzhe ( and editor Flynn Murphy ( 

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