New coronavirus cases raise fears in Beijing, markets closed

Beijing’s Xinfadi meat wholesale market and Jingshen seafood market, above, were closed on June 12, 2020 for disinfection after it emerged both were visited by two newly identified coronavirus patients. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 12 June 2020

New coronavirus cases raise fears in Beijing, markets closed

  • Beijing’s Xinfadi meat wholesale market and Jingshen seafood market closed for disinfection

BEIJING: Beijing closed two markets on Friday and delayed the return of primary school students after three fresh coronavirus cases emerged in the capital — the first after two months of no infections in the city.
They raised fears of a resurgence after China had largely brought domestic coronavirus infections under control.
The majority of cases in recent months have been overseas nationals tested as they return home.
But local authorities announced one new case with no recent travel history outside the capital on Thursday, followed by two more on Friday.
The two latest patients are employees of the China Meat Research Center, city officials said at a daily press conference.
One of them had traveled to Qingdao in east China within the past two weeks.
Beijing’s Xinfadi meat wholesale market and Jingshen seafood market were closed Friday for disinfection and environmental sample collection after it emerged both were visited by the patients, local media reported.
Dozens of police officers were deployed to the two markets, which were cordoned off.
The coronavirus is believed to have been passed from an animal to humans at a market that sold wildlife in the central city of Wuhan late last year.
Beijing’s education commission said Friday it had canceled first, second and third-graders’ planned return to school on Monday — affecting some 520,000 students, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The commission said students who had already returned to school would carry on lessons as normal, but with stricter anti-epidemic measures in place.
Beijing students have gradually resumed lessons in waves since late April, after schools had been closed for three months during the coronavirus outbreak.
The city’s last case before the recent spike was reported in mid-April.
In total, there have been 597 infections reported in the city — 174 of which were imported from overseas — and nine local deaths, according to official figures.
The recent announcements stoked fears on social media.
“Beijing will be out of control! Quick, improve the level of epidemic prevention! There may come a second wave!” wrote one user on the Twitter-like Weibo social network.
“I’m living in Fengtai district (where the latest cases live), trembling with fear ... Going to buy more masks. Hope it can be over soon!” said another.
Some called for mass COVID-19 testing in Beijing. China conducted similar testing campaigns on millions of residents in Wuhan.
Large-scale tests turned up 300 asymptomatic carriers in Wuhan as authorities declared the outbreak was essentially over.
To protect the capital, Beijing is redirecting international flights through other cities where passengers are quarantined and tested before being allowed to proceed.


At least two killed as car ploughs into pedestrian zone in German town

Updated 01 December 2020

At least two killed as car ploughs into pedestrian zone in German town

  • The driver was arrested and the vehicle was impounded, Trier police tweeted
  • Two people have died, and 15 others had suffered serious injuries

BERLIN: At least two people including a child were killed and up to 15 injured on Tuesday when a speeding car ploughed into a pedestrian area in the western German city of Trier, authorities said.
Witnesses said people screamed in panic and some were thrown into the air by the car as it crashed through the shopping zone.
Police said several people had been killed, having earlier put the death toll at two, with more than 10 injured. The local newspaper, the Trierischer Volksfreund, put the death toll at four, including a child, but police did not confirm that figure.
"We have arrested one person, one vehicle has been secured," police said, adding that a 51-year-old German suspect from the Trier area was being questioned, police said.
Mayor Wolfram Leibe had rushed to the scene.
"We have a driver who ran amok in the city. We have two dead that we are certain of and up to 15 injured, some of them with the most severe injuries," he told public broadcaster SWR.
"I just walked through the city centre and it was just horrible. There is a trainer lying on the ground, and the girl it belongs to is dead," he told a news conference, with tears stopping him from speaking further.
He told broadcaster N-TV that people who saw the incident were "totally traumatised" and the street "looks a bit like after a war".
Leibe said he did not know the motive for the incident, which shocked residents of Germany's oldest town, founded by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago.
The Trierischer Volksfreund quoted an eyewitness as saying a Range Rover was driving at high speed and people had been thrown through the air. It said the car had Trier plates.
It reported that people screamed in panic when the car drove through the street.
Officers were scouring the area in search of evidence, backed by police dressed in flak jackets and carrying rifles. On the streets, Christmas lights twinkled incongruously.
Germany has tightened security on pedestrian zones across the country since a truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market in 2016 that killed 12 people and injured dozens.
In October 2019, a man opened fire on a synagogue in the city of Halle. After failing to get into the building he went on a rampage outside, killing two people.
In February this year a racist gunman killed nine migrants in Hanau near Frankfurt before killing his mother and himself. Only about a week later, a local man ploughed his car into a carnival parade in the town of Volkmarsen, injuring 61.
Germany has tightened measures to fight the coronavirus, with bars and restaurants closed, but shops and schools are still open.
"What happened in Trier is shocking. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims, with the numerous injured and with everyone who is currently on duty to care for the victims," Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said on Twitter.