Authorities have been silent about the outbreak in the capital, despite enacting strict regulations and designating one district as a “high risk” region for virus spread.
After the new cases were announced, wholesale markets in the city were closed down.
First Publicly Announced Patient In 56 Days
On the morning of June 11, Chinese state-run Beijing News celebrated that Beijing had no new domestic infections in town for 56 days.
But hours later, Miao Jianhong, deputy director of the Xicheng district government, announced a new infection at a daily press conference.
The new patient was a 52-year-old male surnamed Tang.
Miao explained that Tang felt fatigued and developed a cold recently, but did not cough, have a sore throat, or felt chest pressure—those being typical symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
On June 10 afternoon, Tang visited a hospital in Xicheng district after developing a fever. His nucleic acid test returned positive and he was diagnosed as COVID-19 on June 11. That day, Tang was transferred to Ditan Hospital, a designated hospital for treating COVID-19 in Beijing.
However, authorities struggled to find out how Tang contracted the virus.
Miao said that Tang had never left Beijing in the past 14 days, and had not contacted anyone who entered Beijing from another town recently.
Miao added that he only had two close contacts, who are his family members. They were isolated and tested, and their nucleic acid test results came back negative.
Miao announced that the residential compound where Tang lives has been locked down. Any residents who need to enter or leave the compound must have their body temperatures screened, fill out a registration form, and obtain a pass.
Authorities began investigating all residents at the compound to see whether they traveled out of Beijing in the past 30 days.
On June 12, one of Beijing’s best schools, the Yumin Primary School, announced that Tang’s child is a grade four pupil at the school.
Authorities announced that classes for grade one to grade three pupils would be further postponed. These students had never gone back to school since the Lunar New Year in January.
Schools partially reopened for students in other grades. Authorities said classes would resume for them.
The class where Tang’s child studied was closed down. All 33 students and the 15 instructors who teach them were required to self-isolate at home, while Tang’s child has been isolated at a quarantine center.
The other new cases are two employees at the China Meat Research Center, a state-run institute that researches meat processing, meat food additives, and meat-related machinery.
The two staff visited a local meat market to collect samples before they were diagnosed with the virus.
On June 12, six major wholesale markets in Beijing were fully or partly closed. State-run media quoted businessmen who said all sellers at the markets must take a nucleic acid test. Authorities said they will notify them when the markets can be reopened.
Two Meat Analysts
According to authorities, the two research staff are a 25-year-old male surnamed Liu and a 37-year-old male surnamed Yin.
Liu went to Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong Province from May 29 to June 2 for a business trip. Qingdao hadn’t reported any domestic virus patients for two months.
On June 9, Liu visited the hospital due to a fever, coughing, running nose, and sore throat. Several days later, on June 12, Liu was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Yin has not left Beijing in recent months, and started to develop a sore throat and light coughing on June 9. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 after he was tested as a close contact of Liu.
The district government has locked down the residential compounds where Liu and Yin live in, as well as the research center they work for. Meanwhile, all their close contacts were isolated at quarantine centers and took nucleic acid tests.
Beijing city has the most severe travel restrictions since late January, when the virus was quickly spreading across the country. On June 5, the Beijing city government announced that it would lift its ban on people coming from Hubei Province, the epicenter of China’s epidemic.
Since authorities admitted that the virus was capable of human-to-human transmission on Jan. 20, Beijing has banned all people from Hubei Province from entering Beijing.
On April 30, Beijing allowed people from Hubei to enter the city with a special permit. To earn this permit, the traveler must have a negative nucleic acid test result. After arriving in Beijing, they must self-isolate at home for 14 days.
Since June 5, Hubei people no longer need to obtain the permit in advance of travel. However, they are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result—either before arriving in Beijing or after they arrive in the city.
It’s unclear whether Beijing will launch tight restrictions again after the local outbreak.