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July 8, 2020

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No new virus cases in Beijing

BEIJING yesterday reported zero new coronavirus cases for the first time since the emergence of a cluster in the Chinese capital in June that prompted fears of a domestic second wave.

A total of 335 people have been infected since a cluster emerged at the city’s massive Xinfadi wholesale market in early June.

Beijing’s health commission said yesterday it detected only one asymptomatic case the previous day.

While Chinese authorities are still investigating the cause of the latest outbreak, the virus was detected on chopping boards used to handle imported salmon at Xinfadi market, prompting increased scrutiny of foreign food suppliers.

The Beijing government has tested more than 11 million people for COVID-19 since June 11 — roughly half the city’s population, officials said yesterday.

Residents lined up in the summer heat at testing venues across the city in June, with hundreds of thousands of samples collected each day.

Localized lockdowns across the city have been eased in recent days, with people living in areas of the city considered “low risk” now allowed to travel freely again.

The first batch of more than 5,000 people quarantined for their connections to the Xinfadi market started to be released yesterday, Beijing spokesman Xu Hejian said. But city authorities warned against complacency.

“Zero increase in cases does not mean zero risk,” said Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the city’s center for disease control.

Authorities “cannot rule out the possibility of new domestically transmitted cases over the next week,” she warned, as thousands of people including 31 asymptomatic patients remain under quarantine.

A total of 320 were still hospitalized and 15 have been discharged from hospital after recovery.


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