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Iran Press TV

Beijing district put on 'wartime' footing amid concerns over COVID-19 resurgence

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 13 June 2020 9:03 PM

A Beijing district has put itself on a "wartime" footing after a cluster of novel coronavirus infections centered around a major wholesale market sparked fears of the resurgence of COVID-19.

The capital city's authorities banned tourism and sports events on Saturday (June 13) and ordered people to stay home at 11 residential estates near the market after 45 people out of 517 tested with throat swabs at the Xinfadi market tested positive for the coronavirus.

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

The officials have started testing 10,000 people working at the marketplace located in the city's southwestern Fengtai district, which claims to be the largest agricultural wholesale market in Asia.

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

The new cases of infection are the first officially confirmed locally transmitted cases in Beijing for 50 days

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 first cases of the virus that can lead to a potentially deadly respiratory infection called COVID-19 were spotted by doctors in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December. They shared the genome sequence with the World Health Organization in early January.

Imperial College London, in collaboration with the WHO, has also traced the virus family tree, estimating that it appeared in China around December 5.

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