China Locks Down 11 Residential Areas After Outbreak At Food Market
The measures have been taken to try to stop the country entering a second wave of cases and deaths from the disease.
This latest outbreak relates specifically to Xinfadi, a market that is said to be the largest food market in Asia, which provides 80 percent of Beijing's farm produce from both within China and overseas.
As well as closing down the market, the authorities have also quarantined residential areas surrounding Xinfadi and is testing tens of thousands of people for the virus who live in the vicinity.
A city-wide campaign to identify people who have recently travelled to the market is underway, and some schools have already suspended classes as a result.
Chu Junwei, the acting chief of the Fengtai district - where the market is situated - said on Saturday that 11 residential areas are now completely closed to non-residents.
At a press conference on Monday, a spokesperson for the Beijing city government said: "The risk of the epidemic spreading is very high, so we should take resolute and decisive measures,"
Whilst reports on the exact numbers differ, it is thought that there were 36 new cases of Covid-19 on June 14, which is the same as a day earlier, but is the highest daily count in the area since the end of March.
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That means that there have been 79 cases in four days, which is the highest concentration of infections since February.
As well as the 11 residential areas that are under lockdown, several other districts around the city have had their status upgraded to medium risk.
That means that stricter controls on vehicle and people movement will come into force, as well as more disinfection treatment and temperature checks for residents.
The World Health Organisation said on Sunday that they'd been informed of the outbreak by the Chinese government, and that the country's officials would be investigating how the outbreak started and where.
In a statement, the WHO said: "Genetic sequencing from humans and environmental samples is ongoing, and WHO encourages the release of these sequences as soon as possible."
State media quoted an epidemiologist from the government suggesting that the outbreak could have come into the country from elsewhere.
Yang Peng is reported to have said: "Our preliminary assessment is the virus came from overseas. We still can't determine how it got here. It might've been on contaminated seafood or meat, or spread from the faeces of people inside the market,"
Featured Image Credit: PA