Outbreak at a wholesale food market in Beijing . . .
During the weekend, 44 new cases of COVID-19 were discovered in Beijing. Forty-three of these cases are associated with the largest wholesale food market in the Beijing area, Xinfadi. Before these 44 cases, 35 new cases related to the Xinfadi market were found on Thursday and Friday. It is unclear whether the virus was transmitted through animals handled in the market or human patients. The new cases have raised fears of a second wave in China.
Outbreaks in Chennai, Tokyo, and Seoul . . .
Beijing is not an outlier. Second wave outbreaks are taking place in different places in Asia. On Sunday, Tokyo announced 48 new COVID-19 cases, the highest number of cases in a single day since May 5. Thirty-two of these cases are related to clubs and bars. In India, the government of the state of Tamil Nadu announced a lockdown of the state capital, Chennai, and three neighbouring districts from June 19 to June 30, after 1,415 new cases were discovered in the city on Sunday. Similarly, South Korea has been seeing a surge in new cases since early May, recording 70 new cases over the weekend.
Balancing health and economy . . .
The new outbreaks in different places in Asia indicate the risks and dilemmas involved in re-opening. Facing a global recession, governments are eager for a return to normalcy, but hasty re-openings may result in additional outbreaks and prolonged lockdowns. Historical experience, as in the case of the Spanish Influenza, also shows that a second wave can be deadlier than the first. Canada, like countries in Asia, faces a tough challenge in balancing the economy and health as it proceeds with a gradual re-opening.
- Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada: Asia Leaders’ Speaker Series webinar, The Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis in Canada
- The Japan Times: Tokyo reports 47 new COVID-19 cases, highest since May 5
- South China Morning Post: New Covid-19 outbreak at Chinese market is a warning for countries around world looking to ease restrictions