Update: Beijing Reports More New Covid-19 Cases
New Covid-19 cases have been discovered in the Beijing suburb of Fengtai, the local government said at a press conference Friday, a day after the Chinese capital reported its first new case in nearly two months.
One of the two new cases is a 25-year-old man surnamed Liu, and the other is his colleague, a 37-year-old man surnamed Yin. Liu had recently traveled to Qingdao in neighboring Shandong province, while Yin had not traveled outside the city in the last two weeks.
The news came a day after Beijing reported its first coronavirus case since mid-April. The 52-year-old patient surnamed Tang, a resident of central Beijing’s Xicheng district, said he had not been outside the capital in the past two weeks.
At the same press conference, the city’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also disclosed details about Tang’s recent activities, saying he had visited the Xinfadi Food Market in the city twice, along with a shopping mall, restaurant and supermarket.
Caixin has learned the Xinfadi market has been temporarily closed (link in Chinese). On Friday afternoon, multiple security guards had sealed off the entrance to the market and disinfection work had been carried out. A vendor told Caixin that the beef and mutton trading hall that Tang visited had already been closed off before the vendor had arrived early Friday morning.
Tang visited Jinghui Square and a restaurant named Xinzhongke in Fengtai on May 31. He visited Xishan Forest Park in the city’s western suburbs and then went to a Xinfadi convenience store on June 1, according to Pang Xinghuo, deputy director at the Beijing CDC.
On June 3, Tang shopped at the Jingkai Hardware Building in Fengtai, the Xinfadi Food Market, a China Unicom store and a branch of Shouhang Supermarket.
On Saturday, Tang began to develop symptoms including intermittent fever, chills and fatigue. He sought medical advice on Wednesday and tested positive for Covid-19 the following day.
Tang had been in close contact with a primary school student who returned to classes on Monday. The child and one of Tang’s relatives have both tested negative for Covid-19, the local health authority said.
All the child’s classmates and residents of Tang’s community are now being tested for the disease. The community has been closed off to nonresidents and 48 students and teachers that came in contact with the child are under medical observation.
The Beijing education authority said in a statement (link in Chinese) Friday that classes for several of the lower primary school grades will not resume next Monday as scheduled.
In a Thursday meeting, Beijing’s Community Party chief Cai Qi vowed to trace the source of the infections as quickly as possible, and cut the chain of transmission.
“This case has sounded an alarm for us. We must always maintain a wartime status and resolutely eliminate the possibility of a second outbreak,” the municipal government said in a statement (link in Chinese) Friday.
Xicheng district government head Sun Shuo confirmed that Tang had not left the city in the last two weeks and had not concealed his whereabouts. Rumors have spread online that he had been to Northeast China’s Jilin, where a cluster of cases emerged in May, and owned multiple phones to evade location-tracking programs that assess people’s health status based in part on travel history.
Beijing cannot afford to go into lockdown again, said Sun. “I'm afraid this will be the new normal, as we coexist with the virus for a long term,” he said.
The infections come after Beijing lowered its four-level public health emergency response from level two to three on Saturday, relaxing compulsory mask-wearing rules across the city.
The Chinese mainland reported (link in Chinese) seven new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Thursday, six among travelers from overseas, and one new asymptomatic case, according to China’s National Health Commission.
As of Thursday, the total number of Covid-19 cases on the Chinese mainland stands at 83,064, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.
Contact reporter Yang Ge (firstname.lastname@example.org) and editor Joshua Dummer (email@example.com)
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