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Beijing Locks Down Part of City After Virus Outbreak at Market

Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) --

Beijing shuttered the city’s largest fruit and vegetable supply center and locked down nearby housing districts as dozens of people associated with the wholesale market tested positive for the coronavirus, raising fears of a resurgence of the pandemic in the country.

China reported its largest daily increase in cases since mid-April with 57 new infections on June 13, including 19 classified as imported and the rest locally transmitted, according to the National Health Commission on Sunday. Of the 38 local cases, 36 were in Beijing and the city’s authorities said they either worked at the market or visited recently.

The Xinfadi market was shut down from early Saturday to curb the spread after the virus was detected among some business owners and their equipment. Of the more than 500 samples collected from the center, 45 people were found with Covid-19 and they had no clinical symptoms, local authorities said on Saturday. They didn’t say on Sunday if more were found to be infected.

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Local authorities have placed 11 residential sub-districts near Xinfadi market under lockdown, though it isn’t immediately known how many people live in those areas. A seafood market in Jinshen was also closed, CGTN reported Saturday.

The Xinfadi market covers an area of 112 hectares and has some 1,500 management personnel and more than 4,000 tenants. Beijing authorities said at least 10,000 people at Xinfadi will take a nucleic acid test, CGTN reported. The novel coronavirus was detected on a chopping board used by a seller of imported salmon at the market, according to the Global Times.

The coronavirus is believed to have first emerged from a seafood and wildlife market in Wuhan in Hubei province, spreading from infected animals to humans. Since then, more than 7.7 million people worldwide have contracted Covid-19, with deaths exceeding 430,000.

Preliminary findings suggest the infected victims in Xinfadi may have been in contact with a polluted site in the market or people who had the virus, Xinhua reported, citing Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Among those detected with the virus was a Beijing airport shuttle driver, authorities said Sunday.

The coronavirus has an incubation period of up to 14 days before people show outward signs of sickness, while some of those infected never get sick. While China doesn’t count those who are infected but without any symptoms of Covid-19 as confirmed cases, they are categorized as asymptomatic infections and quarantined.

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