Beijing conducts mass testing

Beijing tightened measures to cope with the new cluster of local COVID-19 infections as the number of confirmed cases in the city rose to 79 from Thursday to Sunday and up to 100,000 social workers joined communities’ epidemic control work.

The capital reported 36 new patients with COVID-19 on Sunday, the majority of whom worked at or had been to Xinfadi wholesale market in Beijing’s southern Fengtai district. In addition to the confirmed cases, another seven are asymptomatic infections under medical observation.

Xu Hejian, a spokesman for the municipal government, said this outbreak is closely related to the Xinfadi market, and the government will employ the strictest investigation to find the source of the infection and curb the spread of the virus.

Nearly 8,000 people who run businesses or make purchases in Xinfadi had received nucleic acid tests by Sunday and have been transferred to isolation locations for centralized medical observation.

Up to 90,000 residents living in 21 communities near Xinfadi and Yuquandong-another market whose operations have been suspended due to the new COVID-19 infections in the capital-are receiving nucleic acid tests. All those communities are closed and under strict management.

Around 200,000 people had been to Xinfadi since May 30 based on a citywide data collection campaign. Those people will get nucleic acid tests and, meanwhile, must stay at home for self-observation.

“By 2 pm on Sunday, we had completed nucleic acid testing for 29,386 people who had visited the Xinfadi market in the past 14 days,” said Gao Xiaojun, a spokesman for the Beijing Health Commission. “Out of all the samples, 12,973 came negative and the rest are awaiting results.”

“Beijing will raise the prevention level of all communities by resuming temperature checks before entering and disinfection of public areas,” said Xu Ying, an official at the city’s antivirus leading work group. “Places for cultural events and entertainment will suspend operations,” Xu added.

He said that on Monday, nearly 100,000 social workers were mobilized in 7,120 communities and villages in Beijing to help fight COVID-19.