BEIJING, Jun 16: Chinese authorities were reimposing some travel restrictions in the capital Tuesday as they worked to contain a new coronavirus outbreak and prevent it spreading more widely in a country that previously appeared to have largely contained the virus.
As reopenings from Europe to Latin America continued, the resurgence in China highlighted expert calls for vigilance in the fight against the pandemic.
China reported 40 more coronavirus infections on Tuesday, 27 of them in Beijing, bringing the city’s total to 106 since Friday. At least one patient was in critical condition and two were in serious condition.
Many of the recent cases have been linked to Beijing’s Xinfadi wholesale market and authorities have been testing market workers, anyone who visited the market in the past two weeks and anyone who came into contact with either group. Fresh meat and seafood in the city and elsewhere in China was also being inspected on the unlikely chance that was how the virus spread.
Residential communities around the market have been put under lockdown, along with the area around a second market, where three cases were confirmed. In all, 90,000 people are affected in the two neighborhoods in the city of 20 million.
Authorities are also barring residents of areas considered at high risk from leaving Beijing and those from such areas who have already left must report to local health bureaus as soon as possible. Taxis and car-hailing services have been banned from taking people out of the city and the number of passengers on buses, trains and subways will also be limited and all are required to wear masks.
China had relaxed many of its coronavirus controls after the ruling Communist Party in March declared victory over the virus, which was first detected the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. In response to the new outbreak Beijing suspended Monday’s planned restart of some primary schools and reversed the relaxation of some social isolation measures.
South Korea has also been battling to prevent a resurgence of the virus, reporting 34 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Half were found in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area where health officials have been scrambling to stem transmissions linked to leisure and religious activities and low-income workers who couldn’t afford to stay home.
Hundreds of recent cases have been linked to nightspots, church gatherings, a huge e-commerce warehouse and door-to-door salespeople amid an erosion of citizen vigilance.(AP)