Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Beijing on Lockdown Again After New Coronavirus Outbreak

Health + Wellness
Beijing on Lockdown Again After New Coronavirus Outbreak
The Xinfadi Wholesale Market in Beijing, China on Aug. 6, 2018. N509FZ / CC BY-SA 4.0

Beijing, China's capital city, has reintroduced strict lockdown measures after a fresh cluster of positive COVID-19 tests was traced back to a fresh food market, according to CNN.


Beijing had opened back up recently and had seen the gains it made in improving air quality quickly vanish as vehicular congestion clogged up the city's streets. Now it may see those gains return, after Beijing discovered 79 symptomatic new cases of the coronavirus since Thursday, according to NPR.

All the new cases were traced back to the sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market on the city's south side. The robust market supplies the city and its surrounding areas with 1,500 tons of seafood, 18,000 tons of vegetables and 20,000 tons of fruit on a daily basis, according to the market's website, as NPR reported.

As The New York Times noted, more than 10,000 people work at the market, which supplies 90 percent of Beijing's fruits and vegetables, according to the state media. The virus was reportedly detected on cutting boards for imported salmon there.

China's state media described its latest effort to curb a potential outbreak in Beijing as a "wartime mechanism." Within that wartime mechanism, authorities swiftly shut down the Xinfadi market, partly or fully closed five others, and locked down 11 nearby residential communities and nine schools in the nearby area. It also started to restrict travel in and out of the city, barring tour groups from other provinces and suspending sporting events, according to official statements and local news, as The New York Times reported. Additionally, across the city, plans for first through third grade students to return to school on Monday were scrapped.

"The risk of the epidemic spreading is very high, so we should take resolute and decisive measures," Xu Hejian, a spokesman for the Beijing city government, said at a press briefing on Monday. On Sunday, he said Beijing had entered "an extraordinary period," as The Guardian reported.

Beijing authorities have a tall order ahead them to initiate contact tracing for people at the market several weeks ago. The first new positive COVID-19 case, which was confirmed on Thursday, came from a man who bought seafood and produce at the market on June 3. He said he did not have any recent travel history, so authorities do not know where he became infected. After he tested positive, two more cases were identified the following day, and the market was sealed off on Saturday morning, according to NPR.

Even though the market was closed, the number of cases continued to rise. In addition to the 79 positive cases, authorities have identified at least 48 asymptomatic cases. Those people are being kept in quarantine.

At the market, Beijing authorities tested nearly 6,000 people working there on Saturday, as well as over 2,300 surfaces. All tested negative. Authorities are also asking everyone who has been in or near the market since May 30 to take a nucleic acid exam, according to NPR.

On Sunday, Beijing ordered all companies to require any employees who have visited the Xinfadi market or had contact with those at the market to quarantine at home for 14 days.

Yang Peng, an epidemiologist with the Beijing city government, told state media the virus resembled the European strain rather than the Wuhan strain, but more investigation was needed, according to The Guardian.

"It is found that the virus came from Europe and the preliminary assessment is that the virus came from overseas. But it is not clear how the virus came into this market," Yang said, according to state media, adding that the virus could have been on contaminated meat or spread from the feces of people at the market, as The Guardian reported.

Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Climate change can evoke intense feelings, but a conversational approach can help. Reed Kaestner / Getty Images

Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.

"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.

She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.

"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.

She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.

This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.

"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

Trending

A rare North Atlantic right whale is seen off Cape Cod Bay on April 14, 2019 near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images

An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.

Read More Show Less
Sprinklers irrigate a field of onions near a Castilian village in Spain. According to a new study, the average farm size in the EU has almost doubled since the 1960s. miguelangelortega / Moment / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

A new report released Tuesday details the "shocking" state of global land equality, saying the problem is worse than thought, rising, and "cannot be ignored."

Read More Show Less
Members of the San Carlos Apache Nation protest to protect parts of Oak Flat from a copper mining company on July 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

In yet another attack on the environment before leaving office, the Trump administration is seeking to transfer ownership of San Carlos Apache holy ground in Oak Flat, Arizona, to a copper mining company.

Read More Show Less