The city of Beijing has ordered all primary and secondary schools to shut their campuses and start teaching online from tomorrow as officials escalate their response to a new COVID-19 outbreak that has infected more than 106.
The fresh crisis that is ravaging the Chinese capital was caused by contaminated goods and environment as well as interpersonal communication, the city’s officials have announced citing a preliminary investigation.
Another 27 residents tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, and all of them had connections with a huge food wholesale market called Xinfadi, which is thought to have spawned the fresh health crisis, the local government said in a press conference.
A researcher from the Beijing Centre for Diseases Prevention and Control has told state media that the virus strain found inside the market likely originated in Europe.
Due to the outbreak, authorities have now closed 11 food markets and sanitised around 300 others. Food deliveries are now also not allowed past a certain point when dropping off takeaways to people’s homes. China’s chief epidemiologist, Wu Zunyou, said the new Covid-19 cases ‘will determine where the epidemic is going’ in the next three days.
He added that the outbreak indicated the virus could ‘start from a market’ and may also be related to ‘seafood and meat’.
He continued: ‘That environment, particularly the cold, wet environment, may be able to keep the virus alive for a long time.’
Zeng Guang, a senior expert with the National Health Commission, also said there could be a high chance of a ‘mild second wave’ if the virus is not contained swiftly. However, he denied Beijing could become like Wuhan, which has seen a similar resurgence in recent weeks. Covid-19 first broke out in Wuhan during December last year.
The city launched plans to test its entire population of 11,000,000 people after new cases of the virus were found in May.