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Beijing's COVID control and prevention still intense

By DU JUAN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-05-17 07:29
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Employees serve a customer takeaway food outside a restaurant in Beijing on Monday. Indoor dining has been suspended in the city's restaurants amid its latest COVID-19 outbreak. CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS/REUTERS

Beijing's COVID control and prevention situation remains intense as clusters and cases discovered at the community level add further uncertainty to the outbreak, a senior official said on Monday.

Beijing has reported four clusters involving a market, a subway renovation project, a bus station and a branch of a logistics company, according to the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The clusters had yielded 140 cases as of Monday afternoon.

Facing this complicated situation, especially the cluster involving the bus station, which has led to six confirmed cases, the city's transportation authority decided to strengthen control measures in the city's traffic system.

"Starting on Tuesday, passengers should show their green health codes before boarding buses and entering subway stations around and near the locked-down and controlled zones," Rong Jun, spokesman for the city's transportation commission, said at a news conference on Monday.

These measures will involve 190 bus lines and 54 subway stations, he added.

"The increasing number of new cases at the community level is the major challenge in the epidemic control and prevention work, as the recent clusters were all discovered outside of the controlled zones," said Xu Hejian, a spokesman for the Beijing government.

Beijing has conducted 10 rounds of mass nucleic acid testing since April 22. New cases were found in every single round of testing, he said.

In order to find the potential risks at an early stage, Beijing is conducting a further three rounds of daily mass testing in 12 districts from Monday to Wednesday.

Beijing reported 39 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases between 3 pm on Sunday and 3 pm on Monday, bringing the total number of infections in the city to 1,113 since April 22. Fifteen districts are involved, according to Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing CDC.

Thirty-four of the new infections were reported in controlled zones and five were found from tests at the community level, she said.

By Monday afternoon, of the 1,113 cases reported in Beijing during the outbreak, Chaoyang district had 387 since April 22, the most in the outbreak, followed by Fangshan district with 309. During the same period, Haidian district reported 120 cases, while Fengtai district had 101.

"The center has completed gene sequencing of virus samples from 483 cases in the latest outbreak," Pang said. "The results showed that there are two independent transmission chains in the city and the branches of those transmission chains have been discovered.

"The gene sequencing of the virus is identical to the one in the recent clusters outside Beijing that have spilled out to other parts of the country," she added. "Meanwhile, the hidden transmission risks still exist at the community level and the transmission chains in the city are not yet completely cut off."

As of Monday, Beijing had 19 high-risk areas for COVID-19 and 25 medium-risk areas.

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