This City Is Experiencing an "Extremely Severe" Second Wave of Coronavirus
After a long stint of no new COVID-19 cases, the pandemic is roaring back in this major metropolis.
After months of lockdowns and stay at home orders, cities across the country and around the world are beginning to reopen. But while attempts to return to normal life are succeeding in some areas, others are seeing a deeply troubling spike in COVID-19. And perhaps no location is seeing as troubling a situation as the Chinese capital city of Beijing. According to The Guardian, local authorities announced that Beijing is currently suffering an "extremely severe" second wave of coronavirus.
"The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe," Xu Hejian, a Beijing city spokesperson, warned at a press conference on June 16. "Right now we have to take strict measures to stop the spread of COVID-19."
City residents have been advised to avoid all "non-essential" travel in and out of the capital, Forbes reports—and citizens who do leave or return are subject to COVID-19 testing. Areas of the city deemed "medium risk" and "high risk" have been fenced off to allow authorities to monitor the movement of people and cars while carrying out temperature checks on residents.
Recently reopened schools are once again shuttered while universities are forbidden from welcoming any returning students. Officials are also urging companies to allow employees to work from home, while all indoor sports venues, concert halls, museums, and libraries have been closed.
The spike represents the most significant surge in China since February, coming after a 56 consecutive day stretch without a new locally reported transmitted case of the novel coronavirus. According to reports, 106 new cases have been reported in Beijing over the past five days.
Chinese state media took to the airwaves with a theory that Beijing's second wave is the result of a mutated version of the virus brought back to China from abroad. "It clearly indicates the virus strain is different from what it was two months ago," Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told state broadcaster CGTN 0n June 16. "The virus strain is the major epidemic strain in European countries. So it is from outside China brought to Beijing."
Beijing is far from the first city to be hit with a second wave of the coronavirus. Recently, Hong Kong and Singapore both experienced renewed surges in COVID-19 cases that brought about tighter lockdowns and regulations. Luckily, the measures were effective in stopping the outbreak from exploding out of control—and Beijing hopes it can achieve the same. And for more places where the pandemic is surging again, check out These 4 States Need to Go Back into Lockdown Now, Virologist Says.