Beijing to witness ‘cliff-like’ drop in Covid-19 cases: Chinese expert

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on June 23, 2020

A disease control expert said that China’s capital Beijing, which has seen a second flare-up of the coronavirus will witness a “cliff-like” drop in new cases by the end of this week with efforts to cut chains of transmission underway, Reuters reported.

The city has a population of around 20 million people and it reported the first case of the second wave of the coronavirus on June 11, linked to a sprawling wholesale food centre.

As many as 236 people have been infected in the worst outbreak in Beijing since the virus emerged in Wuhan’s seafood market late last year.

Beijing on Monday reported nine new cases, sharply down from 22 a day earlier.

“If you control the source, and cut the chain of transmission, the number will have a cliff-like drop,” Wu Hao, a disease control expert from the National Health Commission, told state television in an interview aired late on Sunday, as per the Reuters report.

Since the second outbreak, millions of people have had their normalcy disrupted over the past 11 days, with some fearing that city lockdown is imminent. Flights from Beijing to other parts of China have also been restricted.

But Wu said Beijing was not headed for a “flood-like” lockdown, unlike Wuhan outbreak when little information was at the disposal, adding that lockdown tactics had been more rigorous this time.

To control the spread of the virus, Beijing has designated four neighbourhoods as high-risk and 39 as medium-risk, as of Monday.

People can leave and enter the medium-risk neighbourhoods, with temperature checks and registration. However, apartment blocks with two or more confirmed cases are in a completely locked down.

In high-risk neighbourhoods, an entire residential compound is locked if there is even one infection there.

To identify carriers, Beijing authorities have been conducting aggressive tests on people they deem are in higher-risk groups such as restaurant workers and food and parcel couriers.

Residents in some low-risk neighbourhoods have also been tested. As of Saturday, about 2.3 million Beijing residents had been tested, according to the Reuters report.

Published on June 23, 2020

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