BEIJING: An increase in coronavirus cases in the city of Beijing is sparking fears of a second outbreak of the deadly virus. The Chinese authorities have discovered a fresh cluster of cases of the virus on one of Beijing’s largest wholesale supermarket. This has prompted the Chinese government to restart strict lockdowns and begin mass testing.
On Monday the capital city reported 37 new cases of the virus bringing the total number up to 79. According to the National Health Commission, this is the first major increase from a locally transmitted case after almost 2 months.
The supermarket where the cluster was found has been shut down since. Xinfadi market provides fresh produce, meat, and seafood to the city and is located in the southwest part of the city.
Reports say the cases have caused an outbreak into the provinces of Liaoning and Hebei. The virus has supposedly spread through close contact with the patients in Beijing.
During a press conference on Sunday, municipal government spokesman Xu Hejian said the situation is “ an extraordinary period” and has put the city and the rest of the country in a state of shock.
The new cluster of the virus in Beijing has opened up the possibility of a second wave and a reintroduction of lockdowns throughout the city Previously the strict lockdowns caused a slump in the economy and a second wave is expected to further disintegrate the economy. Before the reemergence, Beijing was considered one of the country’s safest cities. Also Read– Wearing a Face Mask Could Prevent Second Wave of Covid19
The Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, also voiced his concern over the new outbreak and said the outbreak spreading to other cities was “very high” because the Xinfadi market is densely populated and highly mobile.
“Wartime” course of action
The Fengtai district, where the infected market is located, stated it would be using “wartime mechanisms” to prevent a large outbreak. In a video posted by the Chinese government, paramilitary troops can be seen patrolling the area. Eleven residential compounds have been on strict lockdown in the area. Entry and exit have been shut down and all residents are having their temperatures checked and daily necessities are being delivered.
More than 76,000 people have been tested using nucleic acid testing. This test detects the virus in its early stages. From the people tested 56 have had positive reports.