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Beijing confirms 5 cases, tightens virus measures

Updated: 2022-01-21



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People wait for COVID-19 tests at an emergency testing site in Beijing's Haidian district on Monday. [Photo by WANG HAIXIN/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Beijing is facing a severe and complicated COVID-19 epidemic control and prevention situation as an increasing number of cases have occurred in several districts this week, a senior official said on Thursday.

Beijing reported five new confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Thursday, including three who had reported positive nucleic acid tests on Wednesday.

Following that test, a further test confirmed viral infections, bringing the total number of positive and confirmed cases in the latest outbreaks to 11.

All of the new patients work in the cold chain industry. The Delta variant of the novel coronavirus was detected in samples collected from those cases.

"The whole genome sequencing of one of the new cases is in accord with a previous case reported on Tuesday, which means they are in the same transmission chain," Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a news conference.

Pang said that cold chain companies and their supervision departments should tighten control and prevention measures to ensure disinfection management and safety control of the goods' storage, delivery and sales.

"The employees of the cold chain industry should strengthen their health monitoring and complete vaccinations," she said.

Lang Zhiqiang, an official from the city's market supervision bureau who is in charge of food safety, said at the news conference that all the employees in the city's cold chain industry should take nucleic acid tests every three days instead of every seven days, as previously mandated.

According to the bureau, Beijing has imported 60,000 metric tons of cold chain food in 23,900 batches since Jan 1.

The two residential communities in Fangshan and Fengtai districts where the new cases live were raised to medium-risk areas on Thursday, since more than three confirmed cases have been reported in each area in the past 14 days.

In addition to recent cases with Delta variants, Beijing has reported three cases of Omicron since Saturday.

Xu Hejian, a municipal government spokesman, said the city will strengthen control and prevention measures to ensure public safety and provide a safe environment for next month's Winter Olympics.