Health

Beijing district declares emergency after new Covid-19 outbreak

Beijing, Dec 26 (efe-epa).- A district in northeastern Beijing has declared an emergency after five new Covid-19 cases were detected in the area, following two local infections on Christmas Day, health authorities said Saturday.

Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s deputy head Pang Xinghuo told reporters that five patients tested positive after 5,000 people were tested who had come into close contact with the two detected with the coronavirus on Friday.

Shunyi district now enters epidemic emergency level on “wartime” footing, said Pang, explaining that all of its nearly 800,000 inhabitants will be tested for the virus.

Shunyi’s Xidulan and Donghaihong areas have been put under lockdown, according to health officials.

Earlier, the Beijing Municipal Health Commission urged the people not to leave the city and hold large gatherings in the wake of the serious and complicated Covid-19 situation in the capital, following the detection of six new cases in recent days.

The health authorities also advised against traveling outside the capital, unless necessary, during Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, which this year falls on Feb. 12, and during which a large number of people travel to their hometowns and villages from the cities.

The commission reported that two new confirmed cases were detected in Shunyi district in the northeast of the capital on Friday.

One case is that of a 31-year-old woman from Hebei Province who was working in a convenience store in the Zhangxizhuang area in Beijing.

The other case involved a 29-year-old woman from northeastern Liaoning Province, who currently lives in the Shunyi district and works for an American multinational tech firm.

The commission said epidemiological investigations have been conducted on these two cases and necessary control measures have been implemented.

Some residents of the affected neighborhood told EFE that these measures included the isolation of a residential complex in Shunyi, a district that houses an exclusive area of the capital where many families of expats live.

On Friday, the authorities also detected an asymptomatic case involving an Asian Airlines employee from Beijing, who returned from South Korea and had previously been quarantined.

On Thursday, an employee of the hospitality industry from the central Xicheng district, where Zhongnanhai – the seat of the Chinese government – is located, was found to have the novel coronavirus.

It has led to the testing of all restaurant workers and the cold chain in that area, which houses some 1.5 million inhabitants.

The capital also recorded another two cases last week in the so-called art district 798 in the north of the city, which led to the isolation of a hotel and several residential complexes.

These cases were the first to be recorded in the Chinese capital after several months without any new infections at the local level.

Beijing has detected several infections among travelers arriving from abroad since the beginning of the pandemic.

The United Kingdom and Spain are two nations from where the most number of infected people, with 57 and 47 cases, respectively, have arrived in the Chinese capital, followed by Italy (20) and the United States (19).

The Beijing authorities have urged companies not to organize business trips outside the capital while asking schools and companies to stagger their holiday period.

The government spokesperson in the capital, Xu Hejian, said there were many sporadic cases in Beijing and it posed a high risk of propagation of the epidemic.

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