COVID-19: Fear of second wave in Beijing after market outbreak, lockdown reimposed

Last Updated: Sunday, 14 June 2020 (11:21 IST)
Lockdown measures were imposed in parts of in an attempt to prevent the spread of a coronavirus from a new, locally-transmitted cluster.

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In China, believed to be the source of the global coronavirus outbreak, strict lockdown measures helped eliminate transmission within its borders.
 
On Thursday, however, Beijing authorities reported the city’s first locally transmitted infections in nearly two months, adding that at least 50 more infections were traced back to the large Xinfadi meat and vegetable market, which supplies much of the city with its food.
 
Beijing activates ‘wartime mechanism’
 
Officials said 45 of the infected were workers at the market, though none were showing symptoms.
 
Authorities told residents in 11 residential estates to remain at home. Mass testing was ordered and a “wartime mechanism” that put hundreds of police officers on the streets was activated.
 
School reopenings for first through third graders, planned for Monday, have also been delayed. Scheduled athletic events have been suspended.
 
Local media reported that Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts, which had just reopened on June 2, once again closed its doors.
 
Europe prepares to open borders
 
The recent transmissions have fueled fears of a resurgence in China, where the curve of the outbreak has been months ahead of the rest of the world.
 
The fresh cases emerged as much of Europe prepares to reopen borders on Monday, after the European Commission urged EU member states to relax restrictions.
 
Despite steps to end confinement, health officials have warned that the pandemic is far over. The number of global infections recently doubled in just over a month, and the World Health Organization has said the virus is spreading more rapidly in Africa and Latin America. Brazil recently became the country with the second-highest coronavirus death toll, behind the US. 
 
Over 7.6 million people have been infected by the virus globally and more than 426,000 have died.