Beijing carries out mass testing as coronavirus spreads in the capital

(Photo by Noel Celis / AFP)

Beijing has set about testing hundreds of thousands of people for the coronavirus in an exhaustive effort to stamp out a new eruption of the disease in the Chinese capital.

After dozens of cases were reported over the weekend, continuing into Monday, Chinese authorities mobilized almost 100,000 community workers to test everyone who has worked in or visited the Xinfadi market in the southwest of Beijing.

Xinfadi is the largest fruit, vegetable and meat market in the capital, which is home to about 21 million people, and supplies 70 percent of the city’s fresh vegetables and 80 percent of its fruit.

But after discovering more than 90 new infections linked to the market over the weekend, and 36 more being reported Monday, Beijing’s health authorities are taking military-style action to try to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread further.

“These clustered cases are highly correlated with the Xinfadi agricultural wholesale market, which has a highly mobile crowd and poses great outbreak risks,” Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said at a State Council briefing, according to state media reports Monday. “We have to take firm action and resolute measures to effectively stop the epidemic from spreading,” she said. (Washington Post)