Beijing city reports 2 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, schools delay return

BEIJING: The Beijing city government on Friday (Jun 12) reported two new confirmed COVID-19 cases, marking the second consecutive day of new infections being reported in the Chinese capital after two months of no infections in the city. 

The two patients, both male, were reported to have come from a different part of Beijing compared to the case reported on Thursday. They both work at the same facility for the China Meat Food Comprehensive Research Center, which conducts research on subjects including meat processing, state media reported.

It was not immediately clear how the two men were infected. One of them had travelled to Qingdao in east China within the past two weeks.

Beijing’s Xinfadi meat wholesale market and Jingshen seafood market were closed on Friday for disinfection and environmental sample collection after it emerged both were visited by the patients, local media reported.

SCHOOLS DELAY REOPENING

Beijing said on Friday it would delay primary school students returning to class.

The city’s education commission said it had cancelled first, second and third-graders’ planned return to school on Monday – affecting around 520,000 students, Xinhua reported.

The commission said students who had already returned to school would carry on lessons as normal, but with stricter anti-epidemic measures in place.

Beijing students have gradually resumed lessons in waves since late April, after schools had been closed for three months during the coronavirus outbreak.

The city’s last case before the recent spike was reported in mid-April.

In total, there have been 597 infections reported in the city – 174 of which were imported from overseas – and nine local deaths, according to official figures.

The recent announcements stoked fears of a fresh wave on social media.

“Beijing will be out of control! Quick, improve the level of epidemic prevention! There may come a second wave!” wrote one user on Weibo, a Twitter-like social network.

“I’m living in Fengtai district (where the latest cases live), trembling with fear … Going to buy more masks. Hope it can be over soon!” said another.

Some called for mass COVID-19 testing in Beijing. China conducted similar testing campaigns on millions of residents in Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak.

READ: Outbreak quashed, China launches test lab spending spree

Large-scale tests turned up 300 asymptomatic carriers in Wuhan as authorities declared the outbreak was essentially over.

To protect the capital, Beijing is redirecting international flights through other cities where passengers are quarantined and tested before being allowed to proceed.

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