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Beijing virus situation 'extremely severe': official

2020-06-16 HKT 15:32
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  • Beijing virus situation 'extremely severe': official
The coronavirus situation in Beijing is "extremely severe", a city official warned on Tuesday, as authorities raced to track people from the capital who had travelled to other parts of the country, and those who visited the capital have been encouraged to get tested.

Shanghai and some other places have 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

"The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe," Beijing city spokesman Xu Hejian warned at a press conference.

"High-risk people who have left Beijing must inform local authorities immediately,” he said.

The World Health Organisation had already expressed concern about the cluster, pointing to Beijing's size and connectivity.

Authorities shut down another market on Tuesday – Tiantaohonglian in the central Xicheng district – after one employee there was diagnosed with Covid-19, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Seven residential estates surrounding that market were also locked down.

In total, Beijing officials said on Tuesday, they have disinfected 276 agricultural markets, closed 11 markets, and disinfected more than 33,000 food and beverage businesses in a bid to stamp out the new cluster.

Officials had warned on Sunday that since May 30, 200,000 people had visited the Xinfadi market – the original site of the new outbreak.

More than 8,000 workers from Xinfadi have been tested and sent to centralised quarantine facilities.

Shanghai started to require travellers from medium-to-high risk Covid-19 areas to be quarantined for 14 days.

The stakes are high for Shanghai, which has been invited to host two Formula One races this season. US airlines are also poised to resumes flights to the city.

Concerned about contagion risks, many provinces have imposed quarantine requirements on visitors from Beijing.

One suspected case who flew from Beijing to southwestern Sichuan province has become a confirmed case, health authorities said on Tuesday, and local officials are rounding up 111 close contacts for observation.

Hebei province reported four new cases, with two having come into direct contact with a virus carrier in Beijing, and one being an operator at the Xinfadi market. (AFP, Reuters)