Top adviser warns China vulnerable to second wave

New Corona virus outbreak in China sees Beijing adopting “wartime” measures

The Chinese capital reported 36 cases of Covid-19 on Monday, bringing the total number to 79 since the locally transmitted infection was reported on June 12 for the first time in nearly two months, according to the National Health Committee.

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

The outbreak has already spread to provinces Liaoning And Hebei, Where a total of five new cases were found to be in close contact with patients in Beijing.

The new bloc sent shock waves all over China, as Beijing municipal government spokesman Xu Heijian described it as an “exceptional period” during a press conference on Sunday.

Chinese government media have repeatedly promoted China’s effective measures to contain the virus as the number of infections and deaths abroad has risen, in contrast to its success with the failures of Western governments, especially the United States.
Paramilitary police officers wear protective masks and glasses as they warn at the entrance to Beijing's closed Xinfadi Market on June 13.

The sudden resurgence of the virus in Beijing, which was once considered the safest city in the country, raised the possibility of a second wave of infections and the possibility of re-introducing the types of sweeping closures that previously caused much of the country to stop and close. Economy.

At a meeting of the State Council, China’s cabinet, late Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Sun Chunlan said the risk of the recent outbreak was “very high”, citing the high population and mobile population in the market, according to the state news agency. Xinhua.

“Wartime” measures

Fengtai District, where Xinfadi Market is located, Advertise Saturday launch of the “wartime mechanism” and the establishment of a command center to limit the spread of the virus.
On social media, Global Times, a national folk newspaper run by the Chinese government, has published a Video Paramilitary police officers wear masks facing patrols in the market after they closed on Saturday.

The authorities imposed a ban on 11 housing complexes near the market, and strictly prohibited anyone from entering or leaving. Population temperatures will be checked and reported on a daily basis, and their food and daily necessities delivered.

Beijing also conducted a comprehensive DNA test for the Coronavirus, and installed 193 sampling booths throughout the city. More than 76,000 people were tested on Sunday, while 59 people had a positive test result, Xu told a news conference on Monday.

DNA tests work by revealing the genetic code of the virus, and they can be more effective in detecting infections, especially in the early stages, than tests that examine the body’s immune response, although the latter are easier to do.

The Fengtai District collected samples from 8,950 people working in Xinfadi Market. So far, more than 6000 samples have been tested and all results are negative, according to Xu.

The authorities also tracked and collected samples from approximately 30,000 people who were in the market within 14 days before it was closed. Xu said the 12,000 tests conducted so far had shown negative results.

A health worker wearing a protective suit undergoes a swab test from a woman at a test center created for people who have visited or lived near Xinfadi Market in Beijing.

The Beijing government has ordered anyone who visited the market and their close contacts to stay at home for two weeks for medical observation. It also delayed the resumption of studies for primary school students, which was originally scheduled for Monday.

Several local officials, including the vice-president of Fengtai District, were fired after the outbreak.

The outbreak is not the first time that the virus has returned. In May, many places in the northeast of the country were quickly put under strict ban after imported cases caused an outbreak among the communities.

However, before the new group, Beijing reported only 420 local injuries and 9 deaths, compared to over 80,000 confirmed cases and 4,634 deaths nationwide, thanks to the strict travel restrictions imposed on it at the start of the epidemic.

Like most parts of the country, life in Beijing has begun to return to normal, with businesses and schools reopening, and crowds returning to malls, restaurants and parks.

In a sign of the Chinese government’s confidence in its control of the outbreak, the country’s parliament held its annual meeting in late May after a two-month delay, which allowed thousands of delegates to travel to Beijing from all over the country and sit side by side. For meetings that lasted 10 days.
A woman stands behind the fence while awaiting delivery of the goods she has ordered online in a residential area under closure near Beijing's closed Xinfadi Market.

Source tracking

The outbreak in Beijing will be the latest test of the coronavirus containment strategy in China.

Hu Shi Jin, chief editor of Global Times, He said On Twitter, Beijing will not become the second Wuhan, the original epicenter of the epidemic as the coronavirus was first detected in December last year.
“There is no way to become Beijing Wuhan 2.0. The world will see China’s strong ability to control the epidemic, including strong government leadership, respect for science, and the public’s willingness to cooperate and coordinate control measures nationwide. We will win again,” he wrote in Mail Monday.

Beijing authorities are still trying to track down the source of the latest outbreak, and pledged to conduct “the most severe epidemiological investigations”.

Zhang Yuxi, head of the market, told the state-run Beijing News on Friday that the virus had been discovered on a cutting board used by the imported salmon seller in the market, which had led to fears of widespread pollution. Several supermarket chains have removed salmon from their shelves, according to the Beijing Daily.

While investigations are still underway, a researcher with the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control He said The genome sequence indicates that the virus on the market resembles the strains usually found in Europe.
“But it remains unclear how the virus originated. It could have come from contaminated seafood or meat, or transmitted by people who entered the market through their secretions,” Yang Peng said, Tell CCTV state radio on Sunday.

Stephen Jiang and Xun Ding of CNN contributed to the reporting.

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