Beijing’s new outbreak reminds coronavirus can return at any time

Beijing's new outbreak reminds coronavirus can return at any time

Chinese capital did not report any locally transmitted infections for 55 days and life returned to normal. Businesses and schools reopened, people returned to work, and the city’s public transport and parks once again filled with crowds.

But this normality front last week, a new set of coronavirus cases It emerged from a widespread wholesale food market in the city, infecting more than 180 people on Friday.
In a few days, the metropolis of more than 20 million people partial crash. Authorities have repeated the restrictive measures used to fight the first wave of infections, close residential areas, close schools, and block hundreds of thousands of people thought to be at risk of leaving the city. 356,000 people were tested in just five days.

The exacerbation of infections in Beijing, the center of the Communist Party power and previously considered among the safest cities of the country, is a definitive reminder of how easily the virus can return to haunted places.

Five days before the start of the current epidemic, Beijing officials had reduced the city’s four-stage public health emergency alert alert level from Level 2 to Level 3. He returned to Level 2 on Tuesday night.

Similar stimulating tales have occurred repeatedly in recent months, and governments have rushed to control the outbreaks that have reappeared after initially controlling the numbers of infections.

Much loved for the success of including the virus, South Korea has been struggling with an increase in infections since May, after alleviating social withdrawal rules and reopening schools. Singapore was seen as a coronavirus success story a wave of infections It erupted in April among immigrant workers living in packed dormitories.

Second wave of infections

In China, the first wave of infections took place largely in late March, largely thanks to comprehensive interlocking measures that brought most of the country to a halt. As outbreaks worsened in other countries, China closed its borders to most foreigners, scanned tightly at airports and quarantined all returning Chinese citizens. Despite preventive measures, local clusters of infection in the northeast of the country were still flared in April and May, and they were all linked to imported cases.

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But the current epidemic in Beijing, yet the worst revival of the coronavirus, and officials are still trying to find its source.

Previously, reports linked the outbreak For seafood or meat after traces of viruses have been detected on a chopping board used by the imported salmon vendor in the market. However, there are concerns that the virus has spread quietly for weeks before it is first detected.

“This epidemic in Beijing probably did not start in late May or early June, but probably a month ago,” Gao Fu, director of China’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said at a meeting in Shanghai on Tuesday.

“There should have been too many asymptomatic or mild cases (on the market), so the virus was detected too much in the environment,” he said. Said.

Evidence from the United States 25% to 45% of infected people probably do not have symptoms, epidemiological studies show that these individuals can transmit the virus to someone who is not infected.

In the past months, some Chinese health professionals have potentially warned against a second wave of infections; Although Chinese state media have repeatedly voiced the government’s success in controlling the outbreak and contrasting with the failures of Western governments.

Specially interview Together with CNN in May, China’s largest respiratory specialist Dr. Zhong Nanshan warned that China is still facing a “huge challenge” regarding the potential return of the virus and authorities should not complain.

“Currently, the majority of Chinese are still affected by Covid-19 infection due to lack of immunity,” Zhong said. Said. “We are facing a major problem, not better than the foreign countries I am considering right now.”

A delivery worker delivered online order items by a resident living in a key compound in Beijing.

The outbreak is “under control”

The outbreak in Beijing will be the latest test of China’s coronavirus retention strategy.

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On Thursday, Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of the Chinese CDC, made a successful voice declaring that the epidemic in Beijing was already “under control”.

Wu confirmed that the newly confirmed cases related to the market that are emerging in the coming days are still likely – but this is unlikely to happen due to the new transmission.

“Newly diagnosed cases reported every day are not equal to new infections, and controlling the outbreak doesn’t mean there will be zero new cases tomorrow.” Said.

“There will be cases reported tomorrow and tomorrow the next day. These reported cases are the process of detecting previous infections. Not new infections. New infections are just irregular.” Said.

The chief epidemiologist said it is not unexpected to see a new outbreak in Beijing, given the large number of global new cases.

“As long as the risk of imported cases is at risk, small-scale clusters caused by imported infections and imported infections can occur anywhere in China. In this respect (Beijing outbreak) is normal.”

CNN’s Steven Jiang contributed to reporting.

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