International

Beijing fears second wave of coronavirus

Nelson Quan had no idea he had been locked into his compound in the Yuquan district of Beijing until he arrived at the front gate and saw the barricade.

Four days earlier, on June 11, Beijing had reported its first COVID-19 case in almost two months. Now, Quan’s community and at least 27 others are forced to stay at home while they await the results of their nucleic acid virus tests. No one is allowed in, or out.

“Two months of things loosening up, and life feeling like it’s going to be normal, and all of a sudden we’re back to where we were in February,” Quan said in a phone call.

Quan lives just steps from Yuquan East Market, which gets its produce from Xinfadi, the enormous wholesale market identified as the origin of the latest outbreak. Located in the southwestern part of the city, Xinfadi supplies more than 80 percent of the city’s fruits and vegetables, and tens of thousands of people are estimated to go there every day.

Beijing has reported 137 new cases since the cluster was identified, not including three suspected and six asymptomatic cases. Neighbouring provinces Hebei, Liaoning, Sichuan and Zhejiang have also reported new cases linked to travellers arriving from Beijing.

China’s Vice Premier Sun Chunlan has called for decisive action, warning that the risk of the virus spreading again is “very high”. Senior city government official Xu Ying put Beijing in “wartime mode” to contain the virus, invoking fears of another sweeping lockdown across the city with accompanying restrictions on movement. Aljazeera 

Picture [Roman Pilipey/EPA]