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Resurgence: Mass virus testing in Beijing after new cluster triggers lockdowns

Chinese police guard the entrance to the closed Xinfadi market in Beijing today

Officials said anyone who had been to or had contact with people who had been to Xinfadi since May 30 will be required to report to their work or residential units and get tested for coronavirus, the Beijing Daily said on Saturday.

Men wearing protective face masks load a scooter with meat next next to the closed Xinfadi market in Beijing, China.

Chu Junwei, a local official, said at the press briefing that Fengtai District, where Xinfadi is located, is now in "wartime emergency" mode.

All were locally transmitted infections, breaking a months-long trend of China reporting mostly imported COVID-19 cases while the domestic transmission seemed to be largely under control.

Beijing carried out mass testing for the coronavirus on Sunday after a new outbreak in the city that prompted travel warnings across the country amid fears of a resurgence of the disease. "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 a year ago.

The Xinfadi market was closed at 3 a.m. Saturday, and authorities have ordered a mass inspection of the city's meat products now in circulation, targeting wholesale markets, restaurants, and grocery stores.

The meat section of the huge, sprawling market was closed Sunday and AFP reporters saw hundreds of police officers and security personnel plus dozens of paramilitary police blocking access.

According to the Xinfadi website, more than 1,500 tonnes of seafood, 18,000 tonnes of vegetables and 20,000 tonnes of fruit are traded at the market daily.

'In accordance with the principle of putting the safety of the masses and health first, we have adopted lockdown measures for the Xinfadi market and surrounding neighbourhoods, ' Chu said.

The National Health Commission (NHC) said 36 of the new cases were domestic infections in the capital.

Efforts to trace those who had visited the market have begun, with companies and neighbourhood communities messaging staff and residents across the city to ask about their recent movements.

"Afraid? Not really" the man surnamed Zhang told AFP.

Beijing authorities said more than 10,000 people at the market will take nucleic acid tests to detect coronavirus infections.

The city government also said it had dropped plans to reopen schools on Monday for students in grades one through three because of the new cases.

While most of the world is still in the process of easing lockdown restrictions, China resumed most of its socio-economic activity more than a month ago, following overarching control over the novel coronavirus outbreak. They said the visit was part of patrols Dongcheng was conducting. Anyway, I have to buy food, right?' In particular, the virus was discovered on a chopping board used by a seller of imported salmon.

City authorities have closed nine schools and kindergartens near Xinfadi, while sporting events, group dining and cross-provincial tour groups have also been stopped in a bid to stamp out this latest outbreak.