China’s new coronavirus outbreak sees Beijing taking ‘wartime’ measures

A fresh cluster of novel coronavirus cases have emerged from a wholesale food market in Beijing, after the city reported no new local infections for nearly two months.

According to the National Health Commission, the Chinese capital reported 36 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday and reached 79, as a locally infected infection was reported for the first time in about two months on June 12.

The cases are linked to the Xinfadi market, which provides most of the capital’s fresh fruits and vegetables in the southwest of the city. The market, which also sells meat and seafood, has been closed since Saturday.

The epidemic has already spread to the provinces Liaoning and HebeiIt was observed that a total of five new cases had close contacts of patients in Beijing.

The new cluster sent shock waves all over China, and Beijing municipal government spokesperson Xu Hejian described it as an “extraordinary period” at a press conference Sunday.

The Chinese state media has repeatedly noted China’s effective measures to include the virus as the number of infections and deaths abroad, comparing its success to those of Western governments, especially the United States.

The sudden reappearance of the virus in Beijing, previously considered among the safest cities in the country, led to the possibility of a second wave of infections and the possible reappearance of sweeping interlocks that previously stopped and beaten most of the country. Economy.

According to the state news agency, Deputy Prime Minister Sun Chunlan, who held late Sunday at the Chinese Council meeting, said the risk of the recent outbreak was “very high”. Xinhua.

“Wartime” measures

Fengtai region, where Xinfadi market is located, explained Launch of a “wartime mechanism” on Saturday and the establishment of a command center to prevent the spread of the virus.
Global Times, a nationalist tabloid managed by the Chinese government on social media, video Some of the paramilitary police officers wearing face masks patrolling the market after being closed on Saturday.

Authorities strictly forbidden anyone from entering or leaving, locked in 11 residential compounds near the market. The residents’ temperatures will be checked and reported daily, their food and daily needs will be met.

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Beijing also installed mass nucleic acid tests for coronavirus by installing 193 sampling booths across the city. At a press conference on Monday, Xu said that over 76,000 people were tested on Sunday and 59 people tested positive.

Nucleic acid tests work by detecting the virus’s genetic code and may be earlier in detecting an infection, especially in the early stages, although it is more effective than tests that examine the body’s immune response.

Fengtai district collected samples from 8,950 people working in the Xinfadi market. According to Xu, more than 6,000 samples have been tested so far, and the results are all negative.

Authorities also collected and collected samples from nearly 30,000 people released in the 14 days prior to its closure. Xu said all of the 12,000 tests performed so far show negative results.

A healthcare worker wearing a protective suit takes a swab from a woman at a test center set up for people visiting or living in the Xinfadi market in Beijing.

The Beijing government ordered everyone to visit the market and stay home for two weeks for medical observation during close contact. It also delayed the resumption of classes for elementary school students, originally scheduled for Monday.

Following the outbreak, some local officials were dismissed, including vice president of the Fengtai district.

The epidemic does not come back for the first time. In May, some places in the northeast of the country quickly locked tightly after imported cases caused outbreaks among local communities.

However, before the new cluster, Beijing recorded only 420 local infections and 9 deaths compared to over 80,000 confirmed cases and 4,634 deaths across the country, thanks to tight travel restrictions at the start of the pandemic.

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As in the rest of the country, life in Beijing has begun to return to normal, businesses and schools have reopened and returned to crowded shopping malls, restaurants and parks.

As a sign of confidence in the Chinese government’s control of the epidemic, the country’s parliament held its annual meeting at the end of May after a two-month delay, allowing thousands of delegates to travel from Beijing to the country and sit side by side. For meetings lasting 10 days.

A woman stands behind a fence while waiting for delivery of her ordered goods online in a locked residential area near the closed Xinfadi market in Beijing.

Tracking the source

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

Global Times’ editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin, I said On Twitter, Beijing will not be the second Wuhan, the original epicenter of the outbreak in which the coronavirus was first spotted in December last year.
“There is no way Beijing could become Wuhan 2.0. The world will see China’s strong capacity to control the outbreak, including the government’s strong leadership, respect for science, the public’s willingness to cooperate, and the coordination of nationwide control measures. We will win again,” he wrote. Message Monday.

However, Beijing officials are still trying to monitor the source of the final epidemic, which promised to carry out “strictest epidemiological investigations”.

The head of the market, Zhang Yuxi, told government-run Beijing News on Friday that the virus was detected on a chopping board used by the imported salmon vendor on the market, causing a fear of wider contamination. According to Beijing Daily, several supermarket chains removed salmon from their shelves.

While investigations are still ongoing, a researcher with Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control I said The genome sequence showed that the commercially available virus was similar to strains normally found in Europe.
Yang Peng said, “But it is still unclear how the virus originated. It may have come from contaminated seafood or meat, or may have been infected by people entering the market through their secretions.” told State broadcaster CCTV on Sunday.
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CNN’s Steven Jiang and Shawn Deng contributed to the reporting.

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