Eleven residential areas in southern Beijing are again being subject to a lockdown. The cause? The appearance of a new outbreak of COVID-19 in a nearby farmers' market, as announced by authorities on Saturday.
Should we be concerned about a resurgence of the coronavirus epidemic in the country where it first appeared? A study has revealed that the virus could have appeared as early as August 2019 in Wuhan.
A new outbreak in a wholesale market
Seven new cases of coronavirus contamination have been detected in the vicinity of the Xinfadi market, six of them on Saturday alone. This is only if the health authorities are to be believed since China has several times been suspected of greatly underestimating the number of cases in the country.
Eleven neighbourhoods have been sealed off, the wholesale market has been closed for disinfection, and nine schools and kindergartens in the vicinity have also been closed.
A representative of the Fengtai district in the south of the city, Chu Junwei, used a press briefing to say that of the 517 tests carried out at the Xinfadi wholesale market, 45 people were infected by the coronavirus.
Tourism temporarily banned
A spokesperson from the city of Beijing also spoke at a press briefing. He announced that until further notice, all sporting events in Beijing have been suspended, but also that inter-provincial tourism has been temporarily banned.
According to the spokesman, all the cases of contamination that have been recorded in the capital concerned people who had visited the wholesale market in Xinfadi. The market was closed during the night of Friday to Saturday after two cases related to this location were reported.
More than 10,000 tests to be carried out
The authorities are no doubt afraid of seeing a new wave of the epidemic, which first appeared in the centre of the country at the end of 2019. This fear of a new wave was already the case in April when the first steps towards ending the lockdown were carried out.
There are plans to test more than 10,000 people who have recently visited or worked in the Xinfadi market. The concern is all the greater since the first case of contamination reported on Thursday was the first reported in Beijing in almost two months.