China’s capital Beijing has shut down all schools in preparation of a new wave of the coronavirus after it had gone more than 50 days without recording get any new case of COVID-19.
Announcing this at a Press conference, Deputy Secretary-generalof the Beijing government, Chen Bei, said the closure will take effect from Wednesday.
Last weekend, city officials reported a cluster of 87 new cases, 46 of which were asymptomatic. That cluster emerged in Xinfadi, the largest produce and seafood market in the city.
Xinfadi was closed over the weekend, as were several residential buildings on the west side of Beijing. More than 100 people have gone into a 14-day quarantine.
By Tuesday, Beijing had ratcheted up citywide safety protocols to a Level III emergency. The new measures require everyone in the city to be checked for fever before entering businesses, closes car traffic in higher-risk areas, and prevents people from leaving higher-risk communities.
The Level II protocols closed some public spaces and reduced foot traffic to 30% of its normal capacity in others. They also encouraged work from from home and required masks in public indoor places.
Bei, said that city residents from medium- and high-risk areas will not be allowed to leave the city, nor will workers at the Xinfadi market explaining get that the measures were put in place to ensure the virus doe not spread.
“The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe, right now we have to take strict measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Beijing’s swift response is in lockstep with World Health Organization recommendations, head of the WHO emergencies program Mike Ryan said.
Ryan added, “As we have seen in many countries, the emergence of new clusters is always a concern, but what we do like to see is an immediate response to that and comprehensive set of measures.”