It begins so. With a handful of cases surrounding a market or a virus gently laying on a cutting board. This is how it started in Wuhan and, apparently, this is how it started in Beijing. After finding more than a hundred new cases of coronavirus linked to one of the main markets of the Chinese capital, the Beijing municipal government has decided to expand epidemiological prevention and control measures to curb the most significant outbreak the country has suffered since February.
“War mode” against the virus against an “extremely severe” outbreak. Those have been the literal words of the authorities according to the Chinese media. As hundreds of people were quarantined, checkpoints had already been established in some parts of the city on Monday night and all sports facilities and entertainment venues were closed.
On Tuesday, according to The Guardian, the city has woken up with more than 20 rated “medium risk” neighborhoods and numerous establishments (such as residences and schools) in the process of closing. Preliminary results speak of a more contagious strain than the one that affected Wuhan earlier this year … Are we on the verge of the first second wave?
Many doubts and one certainty: Beijing closes
After the first signs of the outbreak, more than 76,000 residents near the Xinfadi market were tested on Sunday at nearly 300 diagnostic points and strict measures, including suspending transport, from the bus to the taxi have been implemented. It is estimated that more than 200,000 people have passed through the market in question since May 30.
According to the Global Times, 29 neighborhood communities located around the Xinfadi and Yuquandong markets have been closed, leaving their residents confined under strict security controls. Meanwhile, in the rest of China, the threat of regrowth has triggered all alerts.
As a result, many Chinese provinces have introduced regulations that force all people returning from Beijing to be confined, and places like Shanghai require 14 days quarantine for all arrivals in medium and high risk areas. In addition, the nearly 8,000 workers in the market have been tested and housed in centralized quarantine facilities. Other city markets and more than 30,000 restaurants are being disinfected.
Little is known about the origin of the outbreak, and that is the fundamental explanation behind the aggressiveness of the measures. As Yang Zhanqiu, deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, pointed out, initial analyzes indicated that the new outbreak involved a more contagious strain of the virus than the one that affected Wuhan at the start of the pandemic is too early to draw conclusions .