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A surge of new cases exploded from a wet market in the city of Beijing. China had largely brought the virus under control, but hundreds have since been infected in Beijing, with cases having emerged in the neighboring Hebei province in recent weeks.
Health officials said Sunday that Anxin county, located around 90 miles from Beijing – will be “fully enclosed and controlled” following a new cluster of cases.
These are the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year.
Under the new measures, only one person from each family will be allowed to go out once a day to purchase necessities such as food and medicine, the county’s epidemic prevention task force said in a statement.
The move comes after another 14 cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, taking the total to 311 since mid-June.
China has now begin testing of millions of residents as a result of the new cases.
The outbreak was first detected in Beijing’s sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market, which supplies much of the city’s fresh produce, sparking concerns over the safety of the food supply chain.
Nearly a third of the cases so far have been linked to one beef and mutton section in the market, where workers are being made to quarantine for a month, city officials said Sunday.
Businesses in Anxin county had supplied freshwater fish to the Xinfadi market, state news agency Xinhua reported.
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12 cases of the novel coronavirus were found in the county — including 11 linked to Xinfadi, the state-run Global Times reported.
The new cases in Beijing have prompted fears of a second wave of the virus in China.
The capital has mass-tested wholesale market workers, restaurant workers, residents of medium and high-risk neighbourhoods and delivery couriers over the past two weeks.
At a press conference on Sunday, officials said 8.3 million samples have been collected so far, of which 7.7 million have already been tested.
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Testing has now expanded to include all employees of the city’s beauty parlours and hair salons, the Global Times said.
Beijing city official Xu Hejian told reporters Sunday that “the epidemic situation in the capital is severe and complicated,”
The official warned that the city needed to continue tracing the spread of the virus.
City officials have urged people not to leave Beijing, closed schools again and locked down dozens of residential compounds to stamp out the virus.
But Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiology expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters last week the new outbreak had been “brought under control”, and officials lifted a weeks-long lockdown imposed on seven Beijing communities on Friday.
Meanwhile, Chinese government papers have revealed that a shocking majority of the country’s cases have been treated with traditional medicine.
A recent white paper released by the Chinese government claimed that 92 percent of Chinese cases of coronavirus were treated with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
TCM is one of the world’s oldest forms of medical practice and includes a range of treatments from herbal concoctions to acupuncture to Tai Chi.
Experts say China is seeking to expand the appeal of TCM both at home and abroad.
Healthcare professionals remain sceptical of its usefulness, and are unsure of it’s utility in treating COVID-19.
TCM is widely championed in China, with the countries National Health Commission containing a special chapter for it’s use against coronavirus.
State media has been highlighting it’s role in treating previous outbreaks, such as SARS in 2003.
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