China locks down 10 more areas in Beijing

COVID-19 : China locks down 10 more areas in Beijing after fresh cases spark fears

China on Monday sealed 10 more neighbourhoods in Beijing after a spate of fresh coronavirus cases linked to a food market sparked fears of a new wave of infection, KnowAfrika reported.

Authorities on Saturday had closed the Xinfadi market, the country’s largest wholesale market, for meat and vegetables in Beijing after over 40 people associated to the market tested positive for the virus. Eleven other neighbourhoods in the vicinity of the market were also sealed, and all tourism and sporting events were cancelled.

A city official, Li Junjie, at a press conference on Monday said that fresh cases had also been found in a second wholesale market in the Haidian district. Authorities temporarily shut down the market and all nearby schools were ordered to be closed, as people living in 10 communities around the market were placed under a lockdown, Junjie added.

So far, the local government has closed six wholesale markets and made alternate arrangement for vegetable supplies to the retail stores.

Meanwhile, China on Monday began mass testing hundreds and thousands of people who had visited the Xinfadi market since May 30. Authorities are also stepping up efforts to trace those who have visited the market, with companies and neighbourhood communities messaging staff and residents to inquire about their recent movements, according to KnowAfrika.

The authorities have conducted the nucleic acid test on 29,386 people so far, Goa Xiaojun, spokesperson for the Beijing Health Commission said, according to PTI. Out of these, 12,973 samples came negative, while results for the remaining swabs are pending, he added.

On Sunday, Yang Peng, a researcher from Beijing’s Centre for Diseases Prevention and Control, said that it has been more or less determined that the virus found on the samples from the Xinfadi market is related to strains China has seen from imported cases.

The genome sequencing showed that the coronavirus came from Europe, he added.

The sudden increase in cases has sparked concern that China may be on the cusp of a rebound of Covid-19, belying predictions made by experts that a second wave may hit the country from October.