Beijing brings back lockdown as 100 new cases linked to fresh coronavirus outbreak
Citizens and Chinese disease control workers can be seen in a location where the authorities conducted COVID-19 tests on citizens who were in contact with the Xinfadi wholesale market on Monday. (Getty)
Parts of Beijing had to reintroduce the ban after a group of around 100 new confirmed cases of coronavirus had been linked to a large food wholesale market.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that the origins of the new outbreak, which emerged two months after the Chinese capital died out, were "uncertain", but may have been caused by imports or packaging of salmon.
State newspapers reported that the virus was found on cutting boards at the Xinfadi market in Beijing's southern Fengtai district amid concerns about a second wave of the pandemic in China.
The first case of the new outbreak was discovered on Thursday after a 52-year-old man tested positive, causing his district to increase his risk to medium.
On Saturday, 53 people in the city tested positive for coronavirus. Contact tracking showed that almost everyone who tested positive worked or bought from the market.
Since then, several districts of Beijing have set up security controls, closed schools, and ordered people to be tested for coronavirus.
A Chinese disease control worker wears a protective suit and mask while he and volunteers guide and register people in a location where the authorities have carried out nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 on citizens. (Getty)
"The containment efforts have quickly entered a war mode," senior government official Xu Ying said at a press conference.
Xu said 7,200 neighborhoods and nearly 100,000 disease control forces entered the "battlefield".
The Beijing authorities have now closed the Xinfadi market after reports say the virus was found on cutting boards for salmon imported there.
Experts said Monday that the fish were unlikely to be carrying the disease itself and that any connection to salmon could have been the result of cross-contamination.
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Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergency program, said in a briefing: "As we have seen in many countries, the emergence of new clusters ... is always a problem.
"But what we like to see is an immediate reaction to it and comprehensive measures."
The return of the corona virus has left Beijing, where many large companies are headquartered, at a time when China is trying to shake off the economic lethargy caused by the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that the origins of the new outbreak are "uncertain" but that it may have been caused by imports or packaging of salmon. In the picture WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. (AP)
Several districts in the Chinese capital established security controls, closed schools, and ordered people to be tested for the Coronavirus / Getty Images.
The outbreak is due to the extensive Xinfadi market, where thousands of tons of vegetables, fruit and meat change hands every day.
The new cases have resulted in many parts of Beijing again taking stringent measures to suppress the spread of the virus.
The capital is taking steps to stop the outbreak, including testing.
On Sunday evening, Beijing ordered all companies to monitor the 14-day quarantine for employees who have visited the Xinfadi market or who have been in contact with someone who has done so.
The residents are advised to avoid crowds and to gather in groups to eat.
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Some districts even sent officials to residential buildings, known as the "knock-knock" operation, to identify people who had visited Xinfadi.
Access to the neighborhoods of infected people has been blocked because residents are being tested.
The 11 neighborhoods around Xinfadi and 10 others near another market have also been sealed as 90,000 residents have been tested.
The World Health Organization said on Sunday that it had been informed of the outbreak and an investigation by Chinese officials.
Beijing, China's capital, had managed to eradicate the virus, but more than 100 cases have now been confirmed in the new outbreak, but no deaths have been reported. (Getty)
A Chinese nurse in a protective suit does a nucleic acid test from a man at the Guangan Sport Center for citizens who visited or live near the Xinfadi Market on Thursday. (Getty)
"The WHO expects that genetic sequences will be released as soon as possible once further laboratory analyzes are completed," said a statement.
China has stopped importing European salmon suppliers because it is feared that they may be linked to a corona virus outbreak in a Beijing market, although experts say the fish itself is unlikely to transmit the disease.
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A Beijing government epidemiologist said on Sunday that DNA sequencing of the virus showed that the recent market outbreak may have come from Europe.
"Our preliminary assessment is that the virus comes from overseas. We still cannot determine how it got here. It could be contaminated seafood or meat, or it could have spread from the feces of people in the market," state officials quoted Media Yang Peng than to say.
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