Outbreak traced to local market . . .
China's National Health Commission on Monday reported that another local outbreak of COVID-19 has been contained, with only seven new cases reported in the past 24 hours. These figures indicate that the Chinese government acted quickly to contain the new outbreak, which started on June 11 at Xinfadi ‘wet market’ in Beijing and reached a total of 318 cases as of Monday. The containment was achieved through a combination of big data deployed to trace visits to the market, the testing of 7.7 million people, targeted lockdowns in specific Beijing neighbourhoods, and community mobilization to track down potential carriers.
New lockdown imposed on 400,000 residents . . .
Outside of Beijing, local governments have taken extreme measures to contain the outbreak. On Saturday, the local government of Anxin County in Hebei Province announced a county-wide lockdown after 13 new cases and five asymptomatic carriers with links to Xinfadi market were located. The severe measures in the county of 400,000 residents include a prohibition on leaving one’s home, with exceptions made for emergency medical visits, disease control-related work, and once-daily trips for buying necessities.
Lingering anxieties . . .
The swift response to contain the new outbreak has likely reinforced citizens’ trust in the government. At the same time, as in the case of Wuhan, there is uncertainty about how the virus began spreading, specifically, whether it originated and was transmitted to humans through animals or whether the density of the market was a factor in facilitating the emergence of a new cluster of cases. The Beijing municipal government announced the sacking of two local officials and the general manager of the market. But it is still unclear what wrongdoings they are alleged to have committed. The lack of information regarding the source of the outbreak and administrative failures are likely to enhance anxiety, and perhaps hamper economic recovery.
- The Conversation: Coronavirus: Beijing outbreak shows China’s plan for preventing a second wave
- South China Morning Post: Beijing’s coronavirus outbreak
- South China Morning Post: Chinese county sealed off after coronavirus spike linked to Beijing market