Beijing Goes Into 'Wartime Emergency Mode' As Second Cluster Of COVID-19 Cases Emerge From Another Market

Anna Harnes

Several regions in China's capital city of Beijing have reportedly gone into "wartime emergency mode" after authorities noticed a second spike of coronavirus cases centered around another food market. A wet market in Wuhan has been largely blamed for being the major source of COVID-19's initial spread, which has since infected over 7 million people across the globe and claimed around 420,000 lives.

According to Business Insider, a man tested positive for coronavirus after visiting the Xinfadi market in the southwestern district of Fengtai earlier this June. The market is the largest source of meat and vegetables in Beijing.

Beijing officials accordingly tested 517 people working at the market. Of the 517 people, 45 tested positive. This means that around 9 percent of workers were infected, despite not displaying any symptoms.

In addition, environmental samples taken from the market and a chopping board used for salmon tested positive for certain strains of the virus.

Taking stringent measures to reduce the chance of a major second coronavirus wave, Fengtai district official Chu Junwei said that the region resorted to "wartime emergency mode" by locking down 11 neighborhoods that were closely located to Xinfadi market.

"In accordance with the principle of putting the safety of the masses and health first, we have adopted lockdown measures for the Xinfadi market and surrounding neighbourhoods," Chu declared.

According to Reuters UK, the government also plans on testing an additional 10,000 people who had been at the Xinfadi market in order to see how far this cluster has spread.

As a result of the potential outbreak, authorities have decided to temporarily end inter-province tourism, in addition to closing a number of schools and suspending sporting events.

"We would like to warn everyone not to drop their guard even for a second in epidemic prevention control: we must be prepared for a prolonged fight with the virus," explained Xu Hejian, a spokesman for the Beijing municipal government, during a Saturday press conference.

"We have to stay alert to the risks of imported cases and to the fact that epidemic control in our city is complicated and serious, and will be here for a long time," he added.

Meanwhile, officials in the United States are also eyeing the possibility of a second wave, as states begin reopening after months of lockdown measures. However, health officials have warned of potential complications, particularly since supplies of remdesivir -- the only drug proven to treat COVID-19 -- are set to run out by the end of June, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.