The Beijing Municipal Health Commission reported 27 fresh cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, up from 106 in the five-day issue after the blast at Xinfada, the city’s largest food wholesale market.
The widespread, bustling market in southwestern Beijing’s Fengtai District occupies 277 acres and has more than 2,000 stalls, selling mostly fruits and vegetables, as well as meat and seafood. According to stocks, about 70% of city vegetables and 10% of pork.
The market has been closed since Saturday, but its size and the number of people working or visiting there from Beijing and beyond have increased the risk of the epidemic spreading.
Authorities, through door-to-door visits and calls, found nearly 200,000 people who had been in the market during the two weeks before closing. They were told to stay home for medical observation and be tested for coronavirus, a city official told a news conference Monday.
The other two Beijing food markets have closed due to confirmed Xinfadi-related cases, leading to severe congestion in residential space near them.
On Tuesday, Xicheng district – which is a neighbor of Fengtai – announced that seven housing communities around the Tiantao Hollian market would be closed after the discovery of a coronavirus case on Sunday.
This follows a similar locking of residential buildings near Xinfadi and Yuquandong Market in Haidian County. A total of 29 housing communities have been closed in the city.
The house arrest measures are similar to those imposed earlier in the city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic.
Wang Du, who lives in one of the communities that is closed near the Yuquandong market, said residents could not leave the settlement to buy groceries and had to order food online or buy a truck that comes on a date once a day with potatoes, fresh vegetables and eggs.
She said all residents of her community tested nucleic acid for coronavirus yesterday.
“To be honest, I’m not too worried,” she said. “I think we have a lot of experience in measures to combat containment and we are able to react very quickly (to a new epidemic).”
As of Tuesday morning, 276 agricultural markets and 33,173 restaurants across the city have also been disinfected, officials said.
Exit path limited
Avoidance has spread beyond Beijing, and nearby provinces of Liaoning and Hubei have reported a total of eight coronavirus cases linked to major clusters.
On Tuesday, the province of Sichuan in the southwest of the country also reported a confirmed case – a woman who returned from Beijing on June 9. She became infected while visiting her husband, who worked at the Xinfadi market.
City officials have also banned high-risk groups, such as close contacts of confirmed cases, from leaving the city, officials said Monday.
CNN’s Steven Jiang and Shawn Deng contributed to the reporting.