Asia Today: China reports 57 new cases; 34 in South Korea

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The NHC said of the 18 new cases, 11 were confirmed cases reported in the country on Friday, including six domestically-transmitted infections in Beijing.

Authorities closed the Xinfadi market at 3am on Saturday after two men working at a meat research centre who had recently visited the market were reported yesterday to have been infected.

Seven other cases were reported on Thursday and Friday.

Officials have said that everyone who works at the market and lives in surrounding neighbourhoods has to undergo testing, as well as those who have visited the market.

Showing fever symptoms on June 10, he went to Beijing Tiantan Hospital for treatment on Friday and was confirmed as a mild case of COVID-19.

City official Xu Hejian told reporters on Sunday that Beijing had entered an "extraordinary period".

The total number of confirmed cases has doubled to 7.7 million in slightly over a month and the disease is now spreading most rapidly in Latin America, where it is threatening healthcare systems and sparking political turmoil.

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Of the 517 samples taken at the Xinfadi wholesale market in Beijing's Fengtai district, 45 people's throat swabs tested positive for the virus. These include restrictions on people arriving into Beijing from elsewhere in China, while only Chinese citizens are allowed to enter the country from overseas, although a few exceptions have been granted to businesspeople resident in China wanting to return.

Although the Xinfadi market accounts for much of the capital's food supply, Sun said that it did not affect him as he gets his produce directly from farmers. None of the 46 who tested positive have shown symptoms. The district locked down 11 neighborhoods close to the market, which is the biggest meat and vegetable market in the capital city.

Authorities are extremely anxious as the Xin Fa Di Market is so vast it is said to supply 80 percent of Beijing's vegetables and meat. Forty environmental samples from the Xinfadi wholesale market tested positive, while the samples from other wholesale markets of farm products and large supermarkets in the capital tested negative, according to Pang.

Local media reported that Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts, which had just reopened on June 2, once again closed its doors.

"We have to stay alert to the risks of imported cases and to the fact that epidemic control in our city is complicated and serious, and will be here for a long time", he said.

Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangdong, Hainan and Sichuan each reported one imported case, the commission said.

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