Beijing’s largest vegetables supplying base shut down as novel coronavirus detected among some merchants

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/13 10:58:03

Photo: Li Hao/GT

Beijing’s largest wholesale vegetable market – Xinfadi market – was shut down Saturday to curb the further spread of the COVID-19 after the novel coronavirus was detected among a few business owners and their equipment. 

To ensure food safety, the Xinfadi market was temporarily suspended, and all merchants and employees in the market -- more than 10,000 people – will be tested for the virus. 

The Xinfadi market, which provides 90 percent of Beijing’s vegetables and fruits, will be the top priority in tracing the source of the epidemic, and a working group will be dispatched to strengthen epidemic prevention and control, Beijing’s anti-epidemic leading group said at a late-night meeting on Friday. 

The move comes after two confirmed cases were reported in the capital on Friday, both people had been to Xinfadi market in Beijing’s Fengtai district. 
The novel coronavirus was detected on a chopping board used by a seller of imported salmon at Xinfadi market. The seller’s salmon was from the Fengtai district’s Jingshen seafood market, according to Zhang Yuxi, head of the Beijing Xinfadi Market.

The official report did not say how many people in the market or if other areas in the huge market had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

The detection of novel coronavirus on chopping board of salmon sparked public concern over the safety of seafood, triggering some supermarkets including Chaoshifa market, Carrefour and Wumart in the city to remove salmon. 

The Chaoshifa market said it had stopped selling salmon. Chaoshifa market is a state-owned enterprise in Haidian district, with 52 branches in the city, 80 percent of the stores sell salmon imported from Norway, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

With the closure of the entire Xinfadi market, the supply of meat and vegetables will be most affected, market officials said. The Chaoshifa market has coordinated with their upstream suppliers to ensure the normal supply of rice, noodles, grains, oil and meat. The officials said it can make up for a delay in supplies at any time if there is any sign of panic buying of goods. 

As of Saturday morning, six wholesale food markets in Beijing had been shut. These include Xinfadi market and the Jingshen seafood market in Fengtai, the Wanxing market in Huairou district, the Dongsiqu market in Pinggu district and a market in Chaoyang district. 

The Xinfadi market will carry out comprehensive disinfection. In order to ensure market supply, special trading areas for vegetables and fruits were set up nearby, where closed-loop management has been enforced.

Zhang said the reopening of the markets will depend on the results of nucleic acid tests being conducted among merchants in the market. 

Top officials from Fengtai district were warned of the outbreak on Friday by Beijing Party Chief Cai Qi and Beijing mayor Chen Jining. The Fengtai district government was urged to dispatch a working group to the Xinfadi market and prevent the virus from spreading further. 

Beijing reported two new COVID-19 cases on Friday, a day after the city reported its first domestically transmitted case in eight weeks. 

Global Times

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