China reports 66 new COVID-19 cases after sudden spike in Beijing

COVID-19 lockdown- Chinatopix via AP

COVID-19 lockdown- Chinatopix via AP

There were six people in Beijing who got tested Covid-19 positive yesterday and all of them visited Xinfadi wholesale market. On Friday, northeast China's Liaoning Province registered two asymptomatic cases, both of which are close contacts with the new confirmed cases reported in Beijing on the same day.

State-controlled Beijing News said six wholesale food markets in the city recently visited by the two men had been either wholly or partially shut.

The Xinfadi market on Beijing's southeastern side was closed Saturday and neighboring residential compounds locked down after more than 50 people in the capital tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to the Beijing health commission, almost everyone who tested positive had worked or shopped at the Xinfadi market.

Beijing has tightened COVID-19 control measures after the newly confirmed cases by local transmission.

Following the emergence of virus in the market, nine related people have been put into quarantine even though their test results were negative, Zhang Yuxi, head of the Xinfadi market, told the Beijing News on Friday.

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The total number of confirmed cases has doubled to 7.7 million in slightly over a month and the disease is now spreading most rapidly in Latin America, where it is threatening healthcare systems and sparking political turmoil. A total of 13 asymptomatic cases were discharged from medical observation. Preliminarily findings suggest these cases may have been in contact with a polluted site in the market or infected people, said Pang.

By Friday, 1,108 confirmed cases including four deaths had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 45 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 443 in Taiwan including seven deaths. The district immediately made a decision to suspend sports events and inter-provincial tourism.

Authorities mobilized mass testing in Fengtai district Saturday and required street-level governments to call residents one by one, screening for anyone who'd visited Xinfadi in recent days.

Attention focused on the market after the reports of the first three cases on Thursday and Friday. There was now one suspected case, the commission said.

Major supermarket chains including Wumart and Carrefour removed all stocks of salmon overnight in the capital, but said supplies of other products would not be affected, Beijing Daily reported Saturday.

"Xinfadi is the biggest wholesale market in the city", said Al Jazeera's Katrina Yu, reported from Beijing, before adding that authorities revealed a sample of the coronavirus was found on a table of a store owner who was selling seafood in the market.

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