Beijing reports 36 more COVID-19 cases in new local market cluster
Updated 22:17, 15-Jun-2020

Beijing recorded 36 new confirmed domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the municipal health commission said Monday.

Twenty-five men and 11 women tested positive, and 34 out of the 36 new cases were either directly or indirectly linked to Xinfadi wholesale market, including 19 people who worked there.

Details of another two cases are still investigated, an official told a press briefing on Monday afternoon.

A municipal official also told reporters the spread of the new mutation of the virus "has not been completely grasped," adding that the situation in the Chinese capital is still grim.

"Beijing has entered a special time and the city's prevention and control work has entered into a war-time mode," another senior city government official told the news conference.

All Beijing communities reinstate Level-2 response measures

All communities in Beijing are returning to level-2 response measures in wake of the new cluster, which has a total of 79 cases linked to it across eight districts so far. All the patients are now being treated at Ditan Hospital with one in critical condition and two in severe conditions.

Round-the-clock personnel will be dispatched to every community to check temperatures, inspect and verify health codes, ensure people are not gathering in large groups and monitor the health of residents. 

Meanwhile, the opening of indoor public spaces such as sports, fitness, and entertainment venues will be temporarily suspended.

The Chinese capital reported zero local transmissions for 56 days before June 11, when the first case in the new cluster emerged.

Large scale testing underway

Over 8,000 staff members at Xinfadi wholesale market have been tested and moved to designated areas for medical observation, said officials. 

People who live in the same community as a confirmed COVID-19 patient will be required to get nucleic acid tests. 

And for the 90,000 or so residents who live in 21 communities near Xinfadi market in the Fengtai District and Yuquandong market in the Haidian District, closed-off management has also activated, meaning no one is allowed to enter or exit. 

Confirmed cases have been reported among Haidian's Yuquandong market staff after they visited Xinfadi wholesale market or came into contact of those who have been there.

The official said around 200,000 people have been to Xinfadi market since May 30.

Beijing conducted 76,499 COVID-19 tests on Sunday, 59 of which showing positive, according to a another press briefing on Monday morning.

Medical workers take nucleic acid samples at a stadium in Beijing, China, June 14, 2020. /VCG

Medical workers take nucleic acid samples at a stadium in Beijing, China, June 14, 2020. /VCG

Officials sacked after COVID-19 cases reported in Fengtai District

Beijing sacked two officials in Fengtai District - Zhou Yuqing, deputy head of the Fengtai district government, and Wang Hua, Party secretary of Huaxiang Township in Fengtai - for misconduct in office during epidemic prevention and control.

Zhang Yuelin was also ordered to be removed from the post of general manager of the Xinfadi wholesale market.

Read more:

Officials sacked after COVID-19 cases reported in Beijing's Fengtai District

Related cases found in Liaoning and Hebei provinces

On Sunday, north China's Hebei Province also registered three domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases, which local authorities confirmed were all related to Beijing's cases. 

Baoding City in Hebei Province is now in "wartime emergency" mode, with prevention and control measures tightened, according to the local government. 

Earlier on June 13, northeast China's Liaoning Province also reported two new confirmed infections. Both of them were also close contacts of the confirmed cases in Beijing, the local health commission said.

Southwest China's Sichuan Province on Sunday reported a new suspected case of the novel coronavirus that is also linked to a case in Beijing.

On Sunday, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan called for resolute and decisive measures in Beijing to avoid further spreading of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Containing the epidemic at the source is essential, Sun said, as she urged comprehensive efforts to trace the origin of the virus. 

Read more:

Vice premier urges decisive measures as Beijing cluster grows

(Cover: Medical workers take nucleic acid samples at a stadium in Beijing, China, June 14, 2020. /VCG)