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Beijing sacks officials amid fresh coronavirus outbreak

IANS/Beijing
Filed on June 15, 2020
beijing market, china, coronavirus, covid19

(Reuters file)

Health authorities in the capital reported on Monday 36 new confirmed cases on Sunday.

Beijing's municipal government has sacked a district chief and two other officials for not being able to prevent the fresh Covid-19 outbreak in the biggest wholesale food market of the Chinese capital, state media reported on Monday.

Deputy head of Fengtai district, Zhou Yuqing, was ousted from office for failing in his duty in prevention and control work, Efe news quoted the Beijing Daily as saying in a report.

Party secretary of Huaxiang town in Fengtai district, Wang Hua, and general manager of the Xinfadi Agricultural Products Wholesale Market Company, Zhang Yuelin, have also been removed.

State-run Xinhua news agency said that tests on 76,499 people were conducted on Sunday in the Chinese capital, resulting in 59 testing positive.

Health authorities in the capital reported on Monday 36 new confirmed cases on Sunday, the day 79 people were still receiving medical treatment, while seven asymptomatic cases were under observation after the outbreak was detected.

While the majority of new cases in China in recent months have involved those who tested positive after returning home from abroad, at the end of last week local authorities reported new cases with no recent travel history outside of Beijing after two months of no infections in the capital.

The novel coronavirus is believed to have originated at a market that sold wildlife in Hubei province's capital city of Wuhan last December.

On Sunday night, municipal health authorities announced that eight new cases linked to the Xinfadi market were detected, with the market shut down on Saturday.

Huaxiang in Fengtai raised its health emergency level to "high risk" making it the only area in China to have that level of emergency. Another six areas of the capital have raised their alert level to medium.

The outbreak in the capital came after Beijing lowered its health emergency level from two to three on June 6.

The capital's main Xinfadi wholesale food market covers 112 hectares and has 1,500 employees, along with more than 4,000 stalls.

All staff and people who have had contact with the market should undergo testing in one of the 98 designated facilities in Beijing, which combined, can carry out more than 90,000 tests in a day.

The city has intensified inspection in the markets selling fresh produce such as frozen pork, beef, lamb and poultry products, and monitor other businesses such as supermarkets and restaurants to ensure produce is not contaminated.

Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan on Sunday urged decisive measures to stop the spread of the fresh outbreak, along with strict epidemiological investigations and a comprehensive tracing to identify and control the source of infection.

Meanwhile, public health experts on Monday assured that the fresh outbreak in Beijing would not lead to a second wave of the epidemic in China, however they said that it was a warning to change the control policies in place.


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