SECURITY checkpoints have been set up and schools closed as Beijing ordered coronavirus testing following a spike in cases linked to the biggest food market in Asia.
After nearly two months with no Covid-19 infections, 79 cases have been reported in the Chinese capital over the past four days — the biggest cluster of infections since February.
The outbreak has been traced to the Xinfadi market, where thousands of tons of vegetables, fruits and meats change hands each day.
The site is the size of 160 football pitches and more than 20 times larger than the seafood market in Wuhan where the outbreak was first identified.
The new cases have led to officials in many parts of Beijing reimposing strict rules, with at least three districts entering ‘wartime mode’.
Measures included round-the-clock security checkpoints, closing schools and sports venues and reinstating temperature checks at malls, supermarkets and offices. Some districts sent officials to residential compounds in what they described as a ‘knock, knock operation’ to identify people who had visited Xinfadi or been in contact with people who had.
Beijing began mass testing on Sunday, with tens of thousands of checks. Samples of 8,950 people identified as recently being at Xinfadi had been collected as of yesterday, a public health spokesman said.
Meanwhile, governments in other parts of China warned residents against non-essential travel to the capital, and ordered self-isolation for visitors coming from Beijing.