Beijing reports single-digit cases for 8 consecutive days, eyes zero this week

By Liu Caiyu and Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2020/7/6 10:21:42

Staff members conduct disinfection at Wanping Town in Beijing, capital of China, July 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Xin)

Beijing on Sunday recorded one new COVID-19 infection, marking the capital's eighth consecutive day of single-digit cases, and experts said reporting no new confirmed cases is possible this week.

The new patient was reported in Fengtai district, where the latest outbreak was first detected and most of the city's high and medium-risk areas are located.

The coronavirus epidemic in Beijing is stable, as daily confirmed cases had remained in the low single digits for eight consecutive days, Beijing officials said at a press conference on Monday. 

The overall epidemic situation is stabilizing, but the risk of an epidemic still remains, an official from the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention said. 

Wang Peiyu, the deputy head of Peking University's School of Public Health, predicted no new daily cases this week. Wang told the Global Times on Monday the newly confirmed cases were found among quarantined patients. That means the epidemic is controllable.

About 11 million residents in Beijing have received nucleic acid tests as of Monday.

Fifty-four residential communities have lifted the closed-loop management so far, as the epidemic situation in Beijing improves, with only one remaining high-risk epidemic region.

Many Beijing residents believe this trend is a positive sign that they will soon be able to return to normal life.

"I promised my friends I would treat them to dinner outside when the infections have gone down to zero. I believe that will happen within this week," said Xiao Zun, a Beijing resident. Others, however, remain more cautious, as the second outbreak has taught them to be more careful of the virus, which we currently know very little about.

As the situation in Beijing improves, studies show that the viral strain in the Beijing outbreak, which is similar to that in Europe, has mutated to be more contagious, sparking concerns over the difficulty in curbing the virus in the capital city.

Zhang Wenhong, an outspoken Shanghai-based infectious disease expert, assured the public on Monday on Sina Weibo that when Beijing brought imported cases under control with its swift anti-epidemic measures, the virus won't spread in the country. But he warned that long-term surveillance of the virus is necessary, as uncertainties remain. 

However, Wang is more cautious over the mutated virus, saying as long as the epidemic remains uncontrolled overseas, Beijing will be exposed to infection risks. Wang stressed the necessity to maintain strict anti-epidemic measures in Beijing.

Since the latest outbreak on June 11 in Beijing, 334 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the city. 

Beijing official said 47 percent of the 334 worked at the Xinfadi market, 187 are male and 147 are female, and cases are aged between 19 months and 86 years old.

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