A fresh coronavirus outbreak in Beijing has been branded ‘extremely severe’ amid fears of a second wave hitting the Chinese captial.
Beijing banned high-risk people from leaving the city and halted some transport services today to stop the spread of a fresh outbreak to other cities and provinces.
China’s financial hub, Shanghai, demanded some travellers from Beijing be quarantined for two weeks, as 27 new COVID-19 cases took the capital’s current outbreak to 106 since Thursday.
That makes it the most serious flare-up in China since February, leading to fears of a second wave of the disease which emerged in Wuhan late last year and has now infected more than 8 million people worldwide.
“The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe,” Beijing city spokesman Xu Hejian warned at a press conference. “
“Right now we have to take strict measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.”
Yang Zhanqiu, a deputy director at the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, said he thought the new outbreak was with a more contagious strain of the virus, the Guardian reports.
“Beijing will take the most resolute, decisive, and strict measures to contain the outbreak,” Xu Hejian, spokesman at the
Beijing city government, said at a press conference on Tuesday.
The city designated 22 neighbourhoods as medium-risk areas as of Monday.
Medium-risk areas are required to take stringent measures to block the potential entry of infection.
All high-risk groups in Beijing, such as people who are close contacts of confirmed cases, are not allowed to leave the city, state media reported on Tuesday, citing municipal officials.
All outbound taxi and car-hailing services have also been suspended. Some long-distance bus routes between Beijing and nearby Hebei and Shandong provinces were also halted.
At least three shuttle bus services from Hebei and another from Inner Mongolia to Beijing’s Capital Airport, a major regional transit hub, were suspended.
The outbreak has been traced to the sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food centre in the southwest of Beijing.