Chinese authorities have shut down two food markets in Beijing and banned tourism into the capital after a cluster of new cases sparked fears of a second wave.
An official governing the city’s Fengtai district, where the markets are located, told a press conference today the entire area is going into ‘wartime emergency mode’.
Eleven residential communities have been closed off and three primary schools and six nurseries have also been shut down, according to Chinese media.
Officials investigated after finding six new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases confirmed in Beijing on Friday had visited the district’s Xinfadi wholesale market.
A total of 11 symptomatic cases and seven symptomless infections were confirmed, but it’s thought these other patients caught the virus outside Beijing.
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Out of 517 of the market’s workers and customers who were tested, 45 came back positive for coronavirus – even though none reported any symptoms.
A seafood market one of the six patients had visited was also closed.
Beijing authorities said more than 10,000 people who attended Xinfadi market will have to be tested.
Several supermarket chains took salmon off their shelves in the early hours of Saturday morning as it emerged coronavirus had been detected on tables used to process imported fish at Xinfadi market.
Prior to Friday’s six new cases, and one more reported on Thursday, no new cases had been reported in the Chinese capital for almost two months.
Officials vowed to step up supervision of all markets in the city of 22 million, and to tighten inspections on people and goods arriving into the city.
Pang Xinghuo, an official at the Beijing Centre for Disease Control, said ‘Preliminary judgment suggests these [six] cases may have come into contact with a contaminated environment in the market, or were infected after being in contact with infected people. We cannot rule out subsequent cases in the future.’
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