Coronavirus and its restrictions return to Beijing after Covid-19 outbreak at market

It’s back.

Coronavirus and the restrictions have returned to Beijing.

After eight weeks without a single locally transmitted case, parts of the capital are back in lockdown and people travelling to and from the city are being required to quarantine.

The fact this outbreak is centred on a food market does not help ease fears that this is the second wave.

However, China now has some of the strictest controls in place and has wasted no time in its attempt to prevent a major eruption.

State media is using the term ‘’wartime measures’’ to describe the safeguards being (re)introduced.

The market at the centre of the outbreak, Xinfadi, in the Fengtai district of Beijing supplies more than three quarters of the capital's fruit and vegetables.

  • ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke analyses the situation in China

It is also a wholesale supplier of seafood and meat.

It was shut down on Friday night and initial tests from the premise have found traces of coronavirus on chopping boards used to cut imported salmon.

That has prompted the withdrawal of all salmon products in shops and restaurants.

Exactly how the virus came to be among the salmon products is still unclear but the Chinese authorities say they believe it originated in Europe.

Beijing paramilitary police guard on a street near the Xinfadi wholesale food market, which has been closed after a rise in coronavirus cases. Credit: AP

Tens of thousands of close contacts of those infected are now having samples taken and being tested – almost 100,000 have been traced so far.

Thankfully that process has produced very few positive cases.

As of Monday morning, 79 new cases have been reported in the last four days mostly workers from the market, people who had shopped there or close contacts of those people.

There have also been new cases linked to the Beijing outbreak reported in a least three other provinces.

The manager of the Xinfadi market as well as two district officials have been sacked for failing to prevent the virus from re-emerging and spreading.

This comes as Beijing had all but returned to normal.

Last week the temperature checking at our offices and at our residential compounds stopped.

The scanning of health codes at supermarkets and in restaurants had relaxed.

There were plans for swimming pools to open, and primary school children to return to school as of this week, all of those plans have been cancelled.

China is where Covid-19 is thought to have first emerged, Wuhan was the original epicentre, the country was said to have won its war.

This outbreak in Beijing, however small, is a warning that this virus can resurface, in even the strictest of conditions and places.