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China locks down areas in Beijing to contain new Coronavirus cluster, fresh new cases reported

The fresh new coronavirus cases are being linked to a single wholesale food and meat market in Beijing.

Jun 15, 2020 15:23 IST
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China is racing to control fresh coronavirus outbreak in Beijing after over 75 new cases were reported in the last two days. The fresh new coronavirus cases are being linked to a single wholesale food and meat market in Beijing.

China has locked down nearly 10 areas in Beijing and has begun a massive testing and tracing programme in the areas. The concerned authorities have begun mass testing almost hundreds of people who had visited the Xinfadi wholesale market in Beijing. 

The wholesale market has reportedly sparked a fresh bout of coronavirus cases. Many of the new infections have been traced to the market.

Coronavirus second wave in China?

The new virus cluster linked to the Xinfadi market has fuelled fears of a second wave of infections in China. As per city official Li Junjie, few cases were also been found at the Yuquandong wholesale market in Beijing’s Haidian district. The market has now been closed and nearby schools will also be closed. Those living in 10 housing estates around the market have been forbidden to step out of their homes.

China imposes fresh lockdown 

China has imposed a lockdown in almost 10 areas of Beijing. The local government has closed down six wholesale markets and made alternate arrangements for vegetable supplies to the retail stores.

Mass Testing Programme launched 

The Spokesperson for the Beijing Health Commission revealed that the local authorities have conducted a nucleic acid test on 29,386 people who had visited the Xinfadi wholesale market since May 30 to contain the fresh wave of coronavirus outbreak. Among these, the result of around 12,973  came as negative and the results of the rest are still awaited. The officials claimed that they plan to carry out virus tests on 46,000 residents in the area. 

Large-scale contact-tracing launched

The local authorities in the affected areas have stepped up efforts to trace those who had visited the Xinfadi market, with companies and neighbourhood communities messaging their staff and residents to ask about their recent movements. Several cities have warned their residents not to travel to Beijing.

Over 112 people with asymptomatic symptoms were under quarantine as of June 14. Asymptomatic cases are the patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 but develop no symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat. They can, however, act as carriers and spread the disease to others.

What is the source of the new infections?

According to the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Wu Zunyou, the source of the latest outbreak could be either contaminated seafood or meat from the market or a visitor or worker who contracted the virus unknowingly. Many people returning to China from overseas have tested positive for the virus.
 
The local authorities in Beijing had earlier said that health workers detected coronavirus in 40 samples collected at the Xinfadi market including from cutting boards used to prepare imported salmon. The outbreak has brought the spotlight over the safety of Beijing's food chain.

Background 

China’s capital city Beijing has overall reported 499 confirmed coronavirus cases till June 14 since January 2020, among whom 411 COVID patients have been discharged, while nine people lost their lives. 

Among the new cases, over 70 people are receiving treatment and seven are asymptomatic and so, they have been kept under medical observation.

Overall, around 78,370 people have been cured and discharged and 4,634 people died of the coronavirus in China. 

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