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China Moves Quickly on New COVID-19 Outbreak in Beijing, Seeking To Trace Origin

June 14, 2020 (EIRNS)—Chinese authorities are moving very rapidly to contain the new COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing, which so far seems to be limited to individuals who had contact with the Xinfadi food market, and to try to determine the origin of the problem. According to China Daily, the Xinfadi market has been closed and 11 nearby neighborhoods have been locked down.

“Tracing and testing have been ramped up to follow potential transmission chains from those working at the market and those who have visited it recently. It has not yet been determined how the virus first gained a hold in the market. But a National Health Commission expert team … [determined that] the virus was found on the chopping boards in shops selling imported frozen salmon.”

But authorities are stressing that this is just one possible source of the problem.

“Gene samples of the virus obtained from the market and throat swabs of people tested at the market are being analyzed to see if they are the same strain that appeared in Beijing two months ago, or similar to the one that was found in Harbin and Shulan in the northeast of the country, or the strains prevalent in the United States and Europe.”

A June 14 Global Times editorial does not disguise the level of concern in the Chinese government:

“The prevention and control measures in Beijing, China’s capital, were among the strictest in the country, yet still Beijing has been hit. We must accept the reality that the coronavirus is hard to prevent…. What happened in Beijing is very likely not the end of China’s domestic COVID-19 spread…. We should not let the new local epidemic control mobilization bring a large-scale or even a national panic. We must avoid the new local epidemic from affecting the resumption of work and production.”

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