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Beijing reinstates control measures as coronavirus cases rise

Beijing reinstates control measures as coronavirus cases rise
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Officials in Beijing reportedly instituted numerous health restrictions on Monday after a sudden surge in confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. 

Several districts in the city closed schools, put up security checkpoints and mandated that people receive COVID-19 tests, according to Reuters. The developments came after the city reported 79 confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the previous four days. 

Before then, Beijing had gone almost two months without a new confirmed case of the virus. 

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Xu Ying, a senior city government official, said during a news conference that containment efforts were rapidly entering "war-time mode," Reuters noted. The official said that 7,200 neighborhoods and about 100,000 epidemic-control workers would be in the "battlefield" as part of the city's efforts to contain a new outbreak. 

Of the 49 cases of the virus China's National Health Commission reported on Monday, 36 came from the Beijing municipality. The cases have been linked to a wholesale food market that handles a huge supply of vegetables, fruits and meat, according to Reuters. 

The Xinfadi market is about 20 times larger than the seafood market in Wuhan where the number cases of the virus exploded in December. 

In addition to security checkpoints and the closure of schools, officials have reinstated measures that mandate people receive temperature checks before entering offices, supermarkets and shopping malls. 

Beijing officials also closed the Xinfadi market and have required anyone who shopped there to self-isolate for two weeks, The Associated Press noted. Workers will undergo mandatory testing and 11 neighborhoods near the market have been placed on a temporary lockdown. 

The World Health Organization indicated over the weekend that it was aware of the Beijing outbreak and Chinese officials' efforts to investigate it. 

The agency said that it has requested further information about the "cluster and the investigations underway and planned."

As of Monday, China had reported more than 84,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and about 4,600 deaths from it, according to a Johns Hopkins University database, although experts have questioned whether Beijing is providing accurate statistics.