Beijing Returns to Lockdown After Cluster of Coronavirus Cases at Major Food Market

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Lockdown Measures Return To Beijing As Testing Reveals Cluster At Major Food Market

By Emily Feng and Amy Cheng/npr.org

Updated 1:15 a.m. Monday

China’s capital of Beijing has discovered 79 symptomatic new cases of the coronavirus since Thursday, leading city authorities to resurrect lockdown measures and elevating fears of a second wave of infections.

All the new cases were linked to the sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market in the south of Beijing, which supplies the city and its environs with 1,500 tons of seafood, 18,000 tons of vegetables and 20,000 tons of fruit every day, according to the market’s website.

The first new case was confirmed Thursday, after one man who bought produce from the seafood and meat section of the Xinfadi market on June 3 tested positive for COVID-19. It is not yet clear how he became infected; he denied having any recent travel history. Two more cases were identified the following day, and the market was sealed off as of early Saturday morning.

Authorities said they tested 5,803 people working at the market on Saturday alone — all were negative for the coronavirus — as well as 2,383 samples taken from surfaces within the market. Those who have been in contact with the market or people who have contacted the market since May 30 have been asked by municipal authorities to voluntarily submit themselves to a nucleic acid exam.

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