Beijing outbreak under control, number of new cases would dwindle: chief epidemiologist

By Zhao Yusha and Wang Qi 


The chief epidemiologist of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that Beijing’s latest COVID-19 outbreak has already been brought under control, but warned that new cases will emerge in the next two days, but the number would dwindle. 

When asked if Beijing’s outbreak was under control, Wu Zunyou said it was, explaining at a Thursday conference that despite Beijing has been reporting confirmed cases every day, this does not mean that all cases are newly infected.

For example, the newly discovered 21 cases on Wednesday were all infected before June 12, Wu said.

Of the 21 new infections found in Beijing on Wednesday, none were considered serious, Pang Xinghuo, the deputy director of the municipal center for disease prevention and control, said at the press conference.

Pang said Beijing has already reported eight cluster infections linked to the Xinfadi market, where the outbreak first emerged. One of the eight is from a restaurant, where an employees purchased food at Xinfadi market and transmitted the virus to a co-worker.

More cases are expected in the following days, but the number would dwindle, Wu said. 

If Beijing had not taken timely measures to curb the spread, it would have been a repeat of Wuhan, he added. Beijing’s outbreak could occur in any place as the virus is still ravaging the world, said Wu, noting that it was unexpected that the outbreak happened again at a market, and led to so many cases. 

Wang Guangfa, a respiratory expert at Peking University First Hospital in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that cluster infections and even community transmissions of COVID-19 are unlikely in Beijing since China’s capital applied strict and timely measures, including closed-off management of residential communities. 

“All the cluster infections are linked to Xinfadi, so the infection is traceable,” Wang said, noting all the cases are the result of active screening by the Beijing government. “Most of patients were classified as mild cases.”

Beijing has completed nucleic acid testing for about 700,000 residents as of Thursday, including 355,000 people related to the Xinfadi wholesale market, media reported.

Xue Lan, a professor and former dean at the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that although Beijing’s outbreak is basically under control, people should always stay alert and mind personal hygiene. 

Aside from the government, community workers and citizens should remain vigilant and report suspicious symptoms and undergo nucleic tests as soon as possible to cope with any possible situations in the future, Xue said.

Jin Dongyan, a virologist at Hong Kong University, still has reservations about the outbreak in Beijing, as “the curbing of Beijing’s outbreak is based on the epidemiological investigation.”

The investigation and screening are not completely finished. Since the virus transmission has the possibility of a “super spreader,” the impact of an infected individual on the entire transmission curve cannot be ignored, Jin told China Newsweek on Thursday.


Source: Global Times