World Media

China reports surge in coronavirus cases

Beijing returns to partial lockdown after 47 new COVID-19 cases

That led to several major supermarket chains removing salmon from their shelves, another newspaper, the Beijing Youth Daily, reported.

People were prevented from leaving their homes in 11 residential estates in south Beijing's Fengtai district after most of the cases were linked to the district's Xinfadi wholesale market, according to city officials.

46 tested positive but showed no symptoms. Forty environmental samples collected at the Xinfadi market also tested positive. Fengtai district officials said a "wartime mechanism" and "field command center" has been established to deal with this fresh wave. However, they pose a risk of spreading the disease to others.

The entire Xinfadi market was shut down at 3 am on Saturday, after two men working at a meat research centre who had recently visited the market were reported to have the virus. It wasn't immediately clear how many people live in the 11 communities. Nearby transport links and schools have been closed.

Security personnel and paramilitary police officers are seen outside an entrance of the Xinfadi wholesale market, which has been closed for business after new coronavirus infections were detected, in Beijing, China June 13, 2020. Most of the others were either workers at Xinfadi - drivers, vendors, delivery people - or close contacts of market workers. On Friday, Beijing delayed the return of students to primary schools across the city, and suspended all sporting events and group dining.

One of Sunday's new cases was a 56-year-old man who works as an airport bus driver and had visited the Xinfadi market before falling ill, the state-run People's Daily reported.

Officials of Beijing's southwestern Fengtai district told a briefing on Saturday that the district was in "wartime emergency mode", reported France 24.

"When I first saw it, I was really panicked, but when I calmed down and thought it over, I thought it wasn't a big deal, because they'll seal off the area", he said.

The coronavirus was first detected on a chopping board used for salmon, according to the chairman of Xinfadi market.

China also reported nine asymptomatic cases, one new suspected case and no new deaths from COVID-19 for Saturday. But a recent spike in confirmed cases has officials in Beijing afraid they're staring down a new outbreak - and they are responding with swift and sweeping measures to contain it.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 83,132, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4634.

Under China's standards for confirming coronavirus cases - which exclude asymptomatic individuals - this cluster of people won't be counted as confirmed unless they begin displaying symptoms and come up positive on a separate nucleic acid test.