BEIJING — The largest wholesale food market in Beijing was shuttered behind police guard and the surrounding neighborhood locked down Saturday after more than 50 people tested positive for the Corona-virus in the Chinese capital.
The outbreak — coming more than 50 days after the last local case in the city of 20 million people — showed how the virus can still come back as restrictions are eased.
The city’s swift response reflected China’s emphasis on moving quickly to stem the spread of new cases wherever they appear, a lesson learned from fighting the outbreak earlier.
Authorities locked down 11 residential communities near the Xinfadi market, about 3 kilometers (2 miles) southeast of the Temple of Heaven tourist site.
Police officers could be seen maneuvering white fencing into place to seal off a road leading to a cluster of apartment buildings.
Volunteers were being mobilized to shop for food and other daily necessities for the affected residents, the Beijing News newspaper said in a social media post. It wasn’t immediately clear how many people live in the 11 communities.
Outside the market, paramilitary police in green uniforms put up vehicle barricades and stood in position at the entrances. Some people were allowed in after showing documents at checkpoints.
Beijing officials said 45 workers at the market tested positive for the Corona-virus, though they showed no symptoms. That was in addition to seven earlier cases of people with symptoms, including six who had visited or worked at the market.
The Beijing News, citing the head of the Xinfadi market, said the virus had been found on a chopping board for imported salmon.
That led to several major supermarket chains removing salmon from their shelves, another newspaper, the Beijing Youth Daily, reported.
City officials before decided to test all the workers at the market for the Corona-virus. They also ordered the testing of food and environmental samples from all the city’s wholesale food markets, and food safety inspections at restaurants and supermarkets.
CTV / ABC Flash Point News 2020.