World

Second flare of COVID-19 in Beijing could be “extremely severe”: Officials

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on June 16, 2020 Published on June 16, 2020

According to a Beijing city official, the coronavirus second flare-up in China is “extremely severe” as the capital reported 27 new cases of the COVID-19. The new group has accelerated the trace-and-test program in Beijing, reported Agence France Presse.

China, the country that had witnessed the emergence of the virus last December, is now witnessing its reemergence at the sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market in the capital.

The new cases have taken the tally to 106 within five days in Beijing as authorities rushed to impose a lockdown in almost 30 communities in the city and tested tens of thousands of people.

"The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe," Beijing city spokesman Xu Hejian warned at a press conference as cited in the AFP report.

The World Health Organization had already expressed concern about the cluster transmission o the virus, pointing to Beijing's size and connectivity.

Officials in the capital have said they will test stall owners and managers at all of the city's food markets, restaurants, and government canteens, as per the AFP report.

Beijing's coronavirus testing capacity has been expanded to 90,000 a day, according to China's official news agency Xinhua.

On Tuesday, the capital's transport commission banned taxi- and ride-hailing services from driving out of the city, Xinhua reported, in another move to try and contain the new outbreak.

All indoor sports and entertainment venues in Beijing were closed on Monday. Other cities in China maintained that they would quarantine people arriving from Beijing.

The National Health Commission also reported four new domestic infections in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, and a case reported in southwestern Sichuan province was linked to the Beijing cluster.

Authorities were also racing to track people from Beijing who had travelled to other parts of China, and those who visited the capital have been encouraged to get tested.

Beijing spokesman Xu said: "High-risk people who have left Beijing must inform local authorities immediately."

Beijing officials said on Tuesday that they have disinfected 276 agricultural markets, closed 11 markets, and disinfected more than 33,000 food and beverage businesses to destroy the virus from the new cluster.

Officials had raised concerns on the surge in the number of cases would likely happen in China as, since May 30, 200,000 people had visited the Xinfadi market -- the original site of the new outbreak.

More than 8,000 workers from Xinfadi have been tested and sent to institutional quarantine facilities.

China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the virus strain found in the Beijing outbreak was a "major epidemic strain in the European countries".

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Published on June 16, 2020
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