Health officials from the Chinese capital confirmed 36 new COVID-19 cases for Sunday – the same as a day earlier and the city’s highest daily infection count since late March. There have now been 79 new cases over just four days, which is the biggest concentration of infections since February. Several neighbourhoods in the west and southwest of Beijing have had their coronavirus alert level upgraded to medium-risk, including Financial Street where banks and financial firms are located.
They are calling for new measures such as strict control of people and vehicle movements, disinfections and temperature checks.
One neighbourhood in the same district as the food market was raised to high-risk, which is the most severe level of infection and warning people not to visit there.
Gao Xiaojun, a spokesperson for the Beijing public health commission, said at Monday’s briefing the Chinese capital started testing en-masse on Sunday, conducting 76,499 tests. Fifty-nine individuals tested positive.
The new coronavirus spike in the Chinese capital has seen Government in a number of cities and provinces to warn their residents against non-essential travel there, while also enforcing isolation protocols and testing for some incoming visitors from Beijing.
The northeastern province of Liaoning and northern Hebei province have reported a combined handful of cases connected to the spike of cases in Beijing.
But the new outbreak is being linked to Xinfadi, the biggest wholesale food market in Asia that accounts to 80 percent of Beijing’s farm produce supply sourced both domestically and from overseas.
The market has been quickly shut, tens of thousands of local people are being tested for coronavirus and a city-wide campaign has been launched to identify those who have recently visited the market or may have come into close contact with those that have.
Fears of a second wave of coronavirus are growing as Xinfadi, a complex of warehouses and trading halls spanning an area the size of nearly 160 soccer pitches, is more than 20 times larger than the seafood market in Wuhan where COVID-19 originated.
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“It might have been on contaminated seafood or meat, or spread from the faeces of people inside the market
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been informed of the new outbreak by officials in China, who are currently investigating its source and extent.
The organisation said in a statement: “Genetic sequencing from humans and environmental samples is ongoing, and WHO encourages the release of these sequences as soon as possible.
“WHO understands that genetic sequences will be released as soon as possible once further laboratory analyses are completed.”
There are now nearly eight millions confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, with more than 435 deaths resulting from the pandemic.
There have been over 83,000 infections in China 4,600 deaths in China, although both of those numbers had started to slow over recent weeks as the country believed it had brought the deadly outbreak under control.