Beijing’s outbreak appears to be firmly waning

BEIJING (AP) — New virus cases declined yesterday in China and in the capital Beijing, where a roughly two-week spike appears to be firmly on the wane.

Twelve cases were reported for the country, down from 22 the day before. Beijing reported seven cases, down from 13, while the two other cases were reported in neighbouring Hebei province and three were listed as having been brought from abroad by Chinese travellers.

No new deaths were reported and 359 remained in treatment for COVID-19, with another 118 in monitoring and isolation for testing positive for the virus while showing no symptoms or being suspected cases.

China reported 4,634 deaths from among 83,430 cases of COVID-19 since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. Beijing’s June outbreak saw more than 200 cases, most linked to the city’s biggest wholesale market, and led to some new lockdowns and the cancellation of classes.

Since then, three million test samples have been taken from 2.43 million people in the city, a senior municipal health official said on Tuesday. Two hundred and forty-nine people have been infected in Beijing since June 11.

The city can now conduct more than 300,000 nucleic acid tests per day, compared with 40,000 in March, Deputy Director of the Beijing Health Commission Zhang Hua said.

A man rides an escalator at a shopping and office complex in Beijing yesterday. PHOTO: AP

High-risk groups in the markets involved in the outbreak as well as surrounding communities were made a testing priority, along with workers in restaurants, supermarkets, food delivery workers and parcel couriers.

“It is very important for the early detection of infections, the timely isolation and treatment, the quick cutting off of spreading and the effective containment of the epidemic,” Zhang said.

The government of Xicheng District of Beijing is relaxing some measures that were tightened during the outbreak, including cancelling the lockdown of seven residential compounds near the Tiantao Honglian market in the district that had been imposed to prevent any new cross infections.