• Friday, Apr 23, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:47 am

Beijing district in 'wartime emergency' after Covid-19 cluster at major food market

  • Published at 02:15 pm June 13th, 2020
China coronavirus
File Photo: People are wearing face masks inside the Jingshen seafood market which has been closed for business after new coronavirus infections were detected, in Beijing, China, June 12, 2020 Reuters

As part of measures to curb the spread of the virus, Fengtai district said it had locked down 11 neighborhoods in the vicinity of the market

A Beijing district put itself on a "wartime" footing and the capital banned tourism and sports events on Saturday after a cluster of novel coronavirus infections centred around a major wholesale market sparked fears of a new wave of Covid-19.

Forty-five people out of 517 tested with throat swabs at the Xinfadi market in the city's southwestern Fengtai district had tested positive for the coronavirus, Chu Junwei, a district official, told a briefing.

None were showing symptoms of Covid-19, he said, but added that 11 neighborhoods in the vicinity of the market, which claims to be the largest agricultural wholesale market in Asia, had been locked down with 24-hour guards put in place.

"In accordance with the principle of putting the safety of the masses and health first, we have adopted lockdown measures for the Xinfadi market and surrounding neighborhoods," Chu said.

The district is in a "wartime emergency mode," he added.

The closure of the market and new restrictions come as concerns grow about a second wave of the pandemic, which has infected more than 7.66 million people worldwide and killed more than 420,000.

They also underline how even in countries which have had great success in curbing the spread of the virus, clusters can sometimes easily arise.

The entire Xinfadi market was shut down at 3 a.m. on Saturday (1900 GMT on Friday), after two men working at a meat research centre who had recently visited the market were reported to have the virus. It was not immediately clear how they had been infected.

On Saturday, market entrances were blocked and police stood guard. Beijing authorities had earlier halted beef and mutton trading at the market and had closed other wholesale markets around the city.

They plan for more than 10,000 people at the Xinfadi market to take nucleic acid tests to detect coronavirus infections.

According to the Xinfadi website, more than 1,500 tonnes of seafood, 18,000 tonnes of vegetables and 20,000 tonnes of fruit are traded at the market daily.

Tourist Sites Close

A city spokesman told the briefing that all six Covid-19 patients confirmed in Beijing on Friday had visited the Xinfadi market. The capital will suspend sports events and tourists from other parts of China, effective immediately, he said.

Beijing's Yonghe temple and National Theatre also announced they would close from Saturday, and the city government said it had dropped plans to reopen schools on Monday for students in grades one through three because of the new cases.

One person at an agricultural market in the city's northwestern Haidian district also tested positive for the coronavirus, Chu said.

Highlighting the new sense of alarm within the city, health authorities visited the home of a Reuters reporter in Beijing's Dongcheng district on Saturday to ask whether she had visited the Xinfadi market, which is 15 km (9 miles) away. They said the visit was part of patrols Dongcheng was conducting.

And following reports in state-run newspapers that the coronavirus was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at the market, major supermarkets in Beijing removed salmon from their shelves overnight.

That concern also spread to other cities, with a major agricultural wholesale market in Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, saying it would remove salmon products from its shelves from Saturday.

In Nanjing, capital of the eastern province of Jiangsu, a local association of restaurants said it would halt the serving of foods containing raw seafood or animal products.

Some Beijing residents, including a man shopping at a Carrefour supermarket in Fengtai district, said they were confident authorities had the situation under control.

"If I were worried, I wouldn't come here to buy meat. I believe it has been quarantined," said the man, who gave his surname as Zhang.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail