Wholesale market in Beijing temporarily shut after new COVID-19 infections

Beijing's new cluster cases rise to 79 in 4 days officials sacked

Fears of second wave as country sees biggest virus jump in months

The total number of confirmed cases has doubled to 7.7 million in slightly over a month and the disease is now spreading most rapidly in Latin America, where it is threatening healthcare systems and sparking political turmoil.

China does not count asymptomatic patients, who are infected with the virus but do not display symptoms, as confirmed cases.

As many as eleven residential neighbourhoods near the food market have been kept under lockdown following the surge in infections. At least 59 individuals tested positive, Gao Xiaojun, a spokesperson for the Beijing public health commission, said at Monday's briefing.

With 9,195 fatalities till Sunday, India is the ninth worst-hit nation in terms of COVID-19 deaths.

The Egyptian Health Ministry announced 1,677 new confirmed cases.

Several key questions about the spike in new infections remain unanswered. Beijing has largely avoid a sustained outbreak, with zero local cases of COVID-19 for over 50 days. The market supplies 80% of Beijing's agricultural products, according to its official website.

"Beijing will not turn into a second Wuhan, spreading the virus to many cities all over the country and needing a lockdown", a government epidemic expert told Health Times on Sunday, referring to the city where the epidemic in China first emerged late previous year. We still can't determine how it got here. "It could have come from contaminated seafood or meat, or been transmitted by people who have come into the market via their secretions", Yang Peng, the researcher, told state broadcaster CCTV on Sunday.

The elected community militias, who in normal times address cases such as infidelity and robberies of chickens, or go after badly behaved mayors, judges and other officials, say they now use lashes to punish those breaking quarantine.

The Beijing municipal information office did not mention the source of the virus at a Monday morning press conference.

The origin of this outbreak has not yet been identified.

Records 1st COVID-19 death in a week
Locally, the 46563 zip code that includes the City of Plymouth has had the most cases at 151. Twelve people are in hospital with COVID-19, including three in intensive care.

"However, Beijing is a large city and a very dynamic and connected city, so there is always a concern", he said. The city reported 36 new infections on Monday, a second consecutive day of record numbers, creating the biggest concentration of infections in the city since February.

Samples taken from the market have shown traces of the virus on imported fish and meat. "Anyone or anything that came into contact with the boards could be it", he said. So far, more than 6000 samples have been tested and the results are all negative, according to Xu.

Has it already spread beyond the market?

Despite that, rising fears among supermarket operators and consumers alike have led to the temporary halt in the sale and distribution of salmon in Beijing.

Xu said 7,200 neighbourhoods and almost 100,000 epidemic-control workers had entered the "battlefield".

Beijing authorities ratcheted up containment measures over the weekend in a renewed effort to curb the virus's spread.

The country's civil aviation regulator on Sunday said that China Southern Airlines' flight from Dhaka to Guangzhou would be suspended after 17 passengers had tested positive for COVID-19 on a June 11 flight, Xinhua reported.

Most of the others were either workers at Xinfadi - drivers, vendors, delivery people - or close contacts of market workers.

The district is in a 'wartime emergency mode, ' he added.

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