Beijing swift to curb new COVID-19 cases


BEIJING: Beijing is taking swift steps to curb a new cluster of local COVID-19 infections that has led to more than 50 new cases in the past four days, including shuttering a major wholesale market linked to all new infections, imposing a partial lockdown in its vicinity and ramping up mass testing and screening in key areas.
The capital reported eight new confirmed cases as of 7 am on Sunday and added 36 new infections on Saturday, with the majority found in its southern Fengtai district but also affecting five other districts.
A large number of the newly confirmed patients work at or have been to Fengtai’s Xinfadi wholesale market, which sells a wide range of agricultural, meat and seafood products, and the remaining ones had direct or indirect exposure to the market, the city’s health commission said.
On Thursday, Beijing reported its first domestic infection in nearly two months-a 52-year-old man who had not been outside Beijing for the past two weeks but visited the seafood and meat hall of the market on June 3.
On Friday, six more people, either workers at the market or people who had recently visited it, were confirmed with having contracted the virus. On the same day, in a citywide check of agricultural product wholesale markets and large supermarkets, only 40 environmental samples taken from the Xinfadi market tested positive for the virus, the commission said.
All confirmed patients in Beijing are mildly or moderately ill, except for one patient being classified as a severe case on Friday and one whose condition has not been revealed, commission data shows.
The State Council’s Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism said during a meeting on Sunday that the strictest epidemiological survey and comprehensive investigation into the origin of the source will be rolled out in Xinfadi and its nearby areas.
The meeting stressed expanding testing to cover all key areas and key populations while tightening control of movement in affected communities, launching rigorous screening and enforcing centralized quarantine of all confirmed cases and their close contacts, suspected cases as well as people with fever.
Precautions against hospital-acquired infections must be strengthened and all agricultural product markets, catering venues and related logistics facilities nationwide will be disinfected, according to the meeting.
Xu Hejian, a spokesman for the municipal government, said on Sunday: “Beijing has entered an extraordinary period. We should draw lessons from the pain, remain alert against the risk of the epidemic at all times and resolutely cut off the spread of the virus.”
– The Daily Mail-China Daily News exchange item