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The city of Beijing has seen more than 100 new cases in the fresh outbreak of COVID-19, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says. Now, Who are urging for China to share new information on the new strain of coronavirus detected in the populous city.
For more than seven weeks Beijing had only registered cases from people travelling in from abroad.
New clusters of coronavirus in the highly populated city has caused the cancellation of relaxed measures across the region, with the planned reopening of schools cancelled.
Indoor sporting and entertainment venues across Beijing have been ordered to close, along with many schools.
The concerns over a second outbreak come as Beijing attempts to return to normal life.
The chief epidemiologist of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the virus strain found in Beijing did not resemble the type circulating across the rest of the country.
The WHO has also urged China to share the genetic sequencing of the strain.
Second outbreaks of the virus are “always a concern”, said Mike Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies programme head.
“But what we do like to see is an immediate response to that and comprehensive set of measures,” he added.
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The fresh outbreak has been linked to city’s largest wholesale market, Xinfadi.
Local media reports say the virus was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at the market.
The findings has resulted in major supermarkets in Beijing pulling the fish from their shelves in efforts to prevent a surge in new cases.
The general manager of the market has been dismissed, along with other local officials.
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In his latest comments, the World Health Organisation’s Mike Ryan was cautious about the cause of the outbreak.
However, Mr Ryan said the suggestion it was carried on salmon or its packaging was only a “hypothesis” despite the reports.
Other health experts have pointed to cross-contamination as being a more likely source.
The market was shut early on Saturday and restrictions imposed on nearby neighbourhoods.
By Monday Beijing had set up nearly 200 testing sites and contacted about 200,000 people who had visited the market since the end of May, state news outlet Xinhua reported.
Volunteers at security checkpoints tested residents’ temperatures.
The lockdown has also been extended to 21 residential compounds close to the market.
The BBC’s China correspondent Stephen McDonell tweeted: “The greatest emphasis, in terms of control measures has been in the Beijing district around where the huge Xinfadi wholesale market and around a couple of other markets.
“There are schools closed and housing areas sealed off to all but local residents.”
The BBC correspondent described the People’s Armed Police marching into the Xinfadi wholesale market earlier on Saturday.
Video shows lines and lines of marching men that have cordoned off the whole area.
China reported the first coronavirus cases but new cases and infections have dropped drastically as hotspots developed elsewhere in the world.
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