China reports 49 new cases in mainland, Beijing under lockdown

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Confirmed cases have been reported among Yuquandong market staff after they visited Xinfadi market or came into contact of those who have been there.

"We can't send any salmon to China now, the market is closed", Regin Jacobsen, CEO of Oslo-listed salmon supplier Bakkafrost told Reuters.

"The risk of virus spread is very high, and resolute and decisive measures are needed to prevent further spread", vice premier Sun Chunlan said during a state council meeting on Sunday, reported state media.

The UN health agency said it understood no new deaths have been reported thus far in the Chinese capital but added that given Beijing's size and connectivity, the outbreak was a cause for concern.

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.

The incident was said to have happened last Friday (12th June 2020) after a new Covid-19 cluster was detected in the city's biggest wholesale wet market, Xinfandi Market.

On social media, the Global Times, a nationalist tabloid run by the Chinese government, posted a video of paramilitary police officers donning face masks patrolling the market after it was closed down on Saturday.

Meanwhile, several schools and residential compounds near Xinfadi have been under lock down. Residents will be checked for temperature and informed daily, and will be provided with their daily food and necessities.

Samples of 8950 people who were identified as recently being at Xinfadi had been collected as of early Monday, said Gao Xiaojun, a spokesperson for the Beijing public health commission, at Monday's briefing.

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Beijing began mass testing on Sunday.

Beijing has no idea where the infection came from, but researchers believe the strain circulating in Europe and elsewhere might be to blame for the new outbreak.

Authorities have tested more than 5,000 food samples from wholesale markets and supermarkets across Beijing since Thursday.

Most of the others were either workers at Xinfadi - drivers, vendors, delivery people - or close contacts of market workers.

Elementary schools for first to third grade students delayed the resumption of classes and high-schoolers were encouraged to study from home. Zhou Yuqing, deputy head of the Fengtai District government, and Wang Hua, Party secretary of Huaxiang Township in Fengtai, were removed from their posts for misconduct in office during epidemic prevention and control.

Health officials in Beijing are working to trace around 200,000 people who visited a wholesale seafood market which is at the centre of a major coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese capital.

Live sport also returned on June 13 to New Zealand, which has gone 22 days without new coronavirus cases, as 20,000 fans watched rugby's Otago Highlanders edge the Waikato Chiefs.

Beijing, which had previously gone 55 days in which the only new infections were citizens returning from other countries, has reported a total of 79 cases in the past four days.

According to reports, Beijing's market supervision authorities have also ordered a city-wide food safety inspection focusing on fresh and frozen meat, poultry and fish in supermarkets, warehouses and catering services.

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