What do we know about the fresh outbreak in China's capital

The new Beijing outbreak is a reminder that the coronavirus can return at any time

For 55 days, the Chinese capital has not reported any locally transmitted infections and has returned to normal. Business and schools were reopened, people returned to work, and public transportation and parks in the city were once again crowded with crowds.

But this fa├žade of normalcy was shattered last week when A new set of coronavirus cases It exited the city’s sprawling food wholesale market, injuring more than 180 people as of Friday.
Within days, the capital of more than 20 million people was put under Partial insurance. The authorities re-applied restrictive measures previously used to fight the initial wave of infection, close residential neighborhoods, close schools, and prevent hundreds of thousands of people believed to be at risk of contracting HIV from leaving the city. About 356,000 people were tested in just five days.

The outbreak of infection in Beijing, the headquarters of the Communist Party force and previously seen among the safest cities in the country, is a stark reminder of how easy it is for the virus to return to haunted places where it is believed to have been tamed.

Five days before the current outbreak appeared, the Beijing authorities reduced the city’s health emergency alert level from four levels from Level 2 to Level 3. It was raised again to Level 2 Tuesday night.

Similar cautionary tales have occurred over and over in recent months, as governments rush to contain an outbreak again after seemingly controlling initial infection numbers.

South Korea, which has lauded its success in containing the virus, has been fighting a massive surge in infections since late May, after relaxing the rules for social separation and reopening schools. Singapore has even considered a success story for the coronavirus A wave of infections It erupted in April among migrant workers living in dormitories.

The second wave of infections

In China, the initial wave of casualties was largely contained in late March, largely due to the comprehensive closures that led to the suspension of most of the country. As the outbreak worsened in other countries, China closed its borders to most foreigners, imposed strict checks at airports and put all Chinese citizens back under quarantine. Despite preventive measures, local infection groups are still burning in the northeast of the country in April and May, all linked to imported cases.

But the current outbreak in Beijing is the worst outbreak of the coronavirus so far, and authorities are still trying to track its source.

Previously, reports had linked the outbreak to seafood or meat, after the effects of the virus had been detected on the cutting board used by the salmon importer on the market. However, there are now concerns that the virus was spreading calmly for weeks before it was first discovered.
Xinfadi Market, the largest wholesale food market in Beijing, is in the midst of the latest outbreaks of coronaviruses in the city.

“The outbreak in Beijing may not have started in late May or early June, but maybe a month ago,” said Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a meeting in Shanghai on Tuesday.

“There must be a lot of symptoms that are not symptomatic or not moderate in (the market) and that is why the virus has been largely discovered in the environment,” he said.

Evidence from the United States indicates that between 25% to 45% of infected people most likely have no symptoms, as epidemiological studies have shown that these individuals can transmit the virus to an uninfected person.

Over the past months, some Chinese health experts have warned of a possible second wave of infections, although Chinese government media have repeatedly repeated the government’s success in containing the outbreak and comparing it with the failures of Western governments.

Exclusively Interview With CNN in May, China’s chief respiratory expert, Dr. Zhong Nanshan, warned that China was still facing a “major challenge” for a possible return of the virus, and that the authorities should not be satisfied.

“The majority of … the Chinese are currently still at risk of developing Covid 19, due to immunodeficiency,” Zhong said. “We are facing (a) a big challenge, it is not better than foreign countries I think at the moment.”

A delivery worker delivers items ordered by a resident who lives online in a closed compound in Beijing.

“Outbreak” disease outbreak

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

On Thursday, Wu Xunyu, chief epidemiologist of the CDC, beat a victorious tone, announcing that the outbreak in Beijing was already “under control”.

Wu said there are still likely to be recent confirmed cases associated with the emerging market in the coming days – but not likely because of a new transition.

Wu said: “The newly diagnosed cases that are reported every day are not equivalent to new infections and that the outbreak is under control does not mean that there will be no new cases tomorrow.”

“Cases will be reported tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. These reported cases are the process of detecting previous injuries. They are not new ones. The new injuries are only sporadic,” Wu said.

Given the large number of new global cases, the chief epidemiologist said it was not expected to see a new outbreak in Beijing.

“As long as there are risks of imported cases, the imported infection and the small groupings caused by the imported infection may occur anywhere in China. From this point of view, (the Beijing outbreak) is normal,” he said.

CNN’s Stephen Jiang contributed to the reporting.

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