China’s response to a localised outbreak at a market shows it takes Covid-19 seriously
- Beijing entered "wartime emergency mode" this weekend to contain a new coronavirus outbreak at a market after going weeks without new cases.
- Schools and restaurants were closed. Eleven housing compounds were locked down. Mass testing and tracing was reimposed. Mandatory isolation is now required for anyone connected to the Xinfadi market.
- The all-encompassing response shows China is still taking the virus seriously.
- It contrasts with the current attitudes of authorities in other countries, which are reopening and think the worst of the pandemic is behind them.
- Brazil, Mexico, and many US states are ending lockdowns and reopening businesses despite record spikes in cases.
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Beijing left no stone unturned in its attempts to squash a flare-up of the coronavirus late last week, showing it is still taking the virus seriously even as other countries act as if the worst of the pandemic is past.
On Thursday, the first new case in two months was traced to the city's Xinfadi fruit and vegetable market. Six more were identified on Friday, 36 on Saturday, and 36 on Sunday.
In response Beijing reimposed countermeasures that show it is by no means taking an outbreak less seriously the second time around. The city is now in "wartime emergency mode," Chu Junwei, an official in the Fengtai district, said on Saturday.
- Xinfadi market was closed before sunrise on Saturday. Nearby sports venues were shut, events canceled, and tourism sites shuttered.
- Anyone who visited or worked at the market, or came into contact with those who did, was told to enter a 14-day isolation. Eleven residential compounds near the market were locked down.
- Ten Beijing neighbourhoods raised their epidemic risk levels to medium, and Huaxiang - where the market is located - raised it to high on Sunday.
- Ten Chinese cities have forbidden residents from visiting Beijing, according to Reuters.
- Trace and tracing is now in place to control the spread of the cluster, according to Vice Premier Sun Chunlan.
- China's response differs entirely from several countries that are right now choosing to reopen while still recording high numbers of new cases. It is worth noting that China recorded its first case, and imposed its lockdowns, earlier than other countries.
In the US, Arizona, Florida, Oregon, and Texas are seeing a rise in cases, but most are still going ahead with their reopening plans. Cases also rose in New Jersey the same day that outdoor restaurant seating and malls reopened.
Chinese cities have previously reversed reopening plans as soon as it found new cases.
Since May 25, thousands of protesters against the killing of George Floyd have amassed regularly in scores of US cities.
Authorities did not outright ban marches, and despite the widespread use of face masks, the gatherings provided ample opportunity for the virus to spread.
- Last week, Brazil reopened shops, beaches, and churches, despite recording record numbers of new cases.
Mexico also began reopening and ending lockdowns in mid-May, and has continued doing so despite recording around 4,000 new cases each day last week. A lockdown in Mexico City, its capital, will end this week.
On Monday, non-essential shops were permitted to reopen in the UK. On Sunday the country reported 1,514 new cases.
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