Caixin
Jun 22, 2020 04:43 PM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

Mysterious Tianjin Covid-19 Case Believed to Be Linked to Neighboring Beijing

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What’s new: Five days after North China’s Tianjin municipality reported its first confirmed Covid-19 case in more than three months, the local government said the patient is believed to have been infected by one of his colleagues.

The patient, discovered last week, is a 22-year-old hotel kitchen worker in a hotel who is thought to have caught the virus from a chef who has shown no symptoms of infection but tested positive on three antibody tests, which suggests he previously had the virus.

Zhang Ying, a deputy director at the Tianjin municipal center for disease prevention and control (CDC), said at a Monday press conference that the chef had travelled to neighboring Beijing multiple times within the month, and visited and stayed at some public places including restaurants and entertainment locations for long period of time.

Zhang said the chef had “interactions at work” with the confirmed patient after returning to Tianjin. The deputy director did not elaborate on the details including when and where the chef had been infected.

If this is confirmed as a case of person-to-person transmission, the 22-year-old patient would be the city’s first local case linked to the outbreak in Beijing which first emerged in the Xinfadi food market.

The background: Both the national and Tianjin local CDCs confirmed on Sunday that the 22-year-old was infected with the same coronavirus strain that was found at Beijing’s Xinfadi food market, the epicenter of the latest outbreak which has infected 236 people in the Chinese capital as of Monday.

The patient usually works as a dishwasher, but had helped wash frozen seafood several times since late May. Traces of the type of virus he was found to be infected with were also found on a chopping board used to cut imported salmon in the Xinfadi market. Thus, the patient was previously suspected to be have been infected by contaminated seafood.

In other parts of China, about two dozen confirmed cases linked to the Beijing outbreak have been reported, most of which were in the neighboring province of Hebei.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Lu Zhenhua (zhenhualu@caixin.com) and editor Joshua Dummer (joshuadummer@caixin.com)

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