Just after 27 new coronavirus cases reported from Beijing, China, a city official warned on Tuesday that the coronavirus situation in Beijing is “extremely severe”. Beijing had already started mass-testing of its people after the newly reported infections. The infection is believed to have started at the sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market in the capital. Just a few months ago, China had effectively controlled the outbreak of the coronavirus which had first appeared in the seafood market of Wuhan.
The new confirmed cases in Beijing have sparked alarm and the authorities have locked down almost 30 communities in the city and tested tens of thousands of people. During a press conference, Beijing city spokesman Xu Hejian warned, “The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe,”
The World Health Organization had already expressed concern about the cluster, pointing to Beijing’s size and connectivity. The officials further informed that they will test stall owners and managers at all of the city’s food markets, restaurants and government canteens.
China’s official news agency said that Beijing has expanded its coronavirus testing capacity to 90,000 a day. On Tuesday, Beijing’s transport commission banned taxi and ride hailing services from driving out of the city to combat a second wave of the deadly virus.
All the entertainment venues and indoor sports were ordered to shut on Monday. Those who will arrive in Beijing from other cities will be quarantined. In the neighbouring Hebei province, four new domestic infections were also reported.
On Monday, China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus strain found in the Beijing outbreak was a “major epidemic strain in the European countries”.
Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of CDC, said in an interview, “Ever since new cases suddenly emerged in Beijing, we have tried to figure out the reasons for the outbreak since there were no COVID-19 cases found over the past two months.”
“We came up with several possibilities, and the most likely one is that the carrier of the novel coronavirus comes from outside China or other parts of China and brought it here,” he added.