After months of almost no new Covid-19 cases reported in China, the nation saw dozens of new infections recorded in a single day, mostly in Beijing, as fears of a second outbreak grow.
Chinese health authorities have reported 57 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours – more than in the last two days combined. The infection rate in the country, which previously appeared to have beaten the disease, began to grow once again on Friday when new cases were reported in its capital, Beijing.
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The city has now become a new epicenter of the outbreak, as 36 of the 57 new cases have been recorded there. The city authorities said that contact tracing showed that almost all new infections are linked to Xinfadi – a wholesale food market that is considered one of the largest in Asia. The new Covid-19 patients either worked or shopped there.
The authorities promptly responded by closing down the market on Saturday and introducing “wartime-like” disease control measures in the surrounding area. They placed 11 nearby communities on lockdown. All the market workers are now required to be tested for the virus. The authorities have also encouraged anyone who visited it recently to be tested.
A dozen Chinese cities, including Harbin and Dalian, advised residents against travelling to the capital for the time being. The disease, however, appears to have slipped through the barriers since two new cases were also registered in the northeastern Liaoning province. The local authorities said both patients were in close contact with the confirmed cases in Beijing.
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When the novel coronavirus was first reported in the city of Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province in December, the outbreak was linked to a local ‘wet market’. At the time, China managed to stop the epidemic through rigorous quarantine measures and placing Wuhan’s population of 11 million on total lockdown.
The latest outbreak brings China’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 83,132, according to the national health commission. Throughout the world, the disease has infected more than 7.8 million people and claimed more than 430,000 lives, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. The US remains the worst affected nation with more than 2 million cases, followed by Brazil with over 850,000 infections.
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