China the origin of the novel coronavirus, is in fear, as the second wave of coronavirus strikes its shores.
Beijing’s first case in the second wave
Beijing, the capital city of China; on 9 June reported the discharge of the last positively tested COVID-19 patient. The local hospital officials were finally breathing without any mask, the air was at last virus free. Beijing has not reported any new domestic cases in the last 56 days. In a press conference officials said “no new cases and no suspected infections”. People stepped out without masks, on a beautiful summer day; Under the clear blue sky, in the sparking sunshine filling the atmosphere with light and happiness.
This report refilled hope in the entire world, that the virus’s end is not illusory, it is possible. But the short-lived happiness ended when on Wednesday 10 June Mr. Tang a 52-year tested positive for the virus. The disheartening news broke Beijings ‘ day no-fresh case streak as well as blurred the hope of the near end of the virus.
The new case was an indication that for the past few weeks coronavirus has been spreading in the city unnoticed.
The origin of the second wave
When Mr. Tang’s case was routed back and the core of the virus’s spread was found at Xinfadi Wholesale Market. Xindi Wholesale Market is the market that sells 80% of the city’s fruits and vegetables. When dug deeper the virus’s traces were found on ‘the chopping board’ which was used for the imported salmon.
The residents near Mr. Tang’s after the positive test were put under very strict lockdown. China’s public health system has recognized more than 100,000 contacts, all of which were tested and put into strict isolation.
Xindi Wholesale is the hub for fresh fruits and vegetables in the city. Most restaurants and bar in the city get their supplies from this market. The virus’s presence in such an intensified place could spread the virus, like a forest fire. Thousands of samples for testing from the Xinfadi Wholesale market have been taken.
Till 13 June, 45 new cases rooted in the Xinfadi Wholesale market came forward. Though the number of patients in Beijing is considerably low compared to other major cities of the world. But plaintive news is that Beijing is facing the second wave of coronavirus after it thought it eradicated the virus from its soil.
The government on new COVI-19 cases
“In accordance with the principle of putting the safety of the masses and health first, we have adopted lockdown measures for the Xinfadi market and surrounding neighborhoods,” said Chu Junwei, a district official. The city is put into “wartime emergency mode” added Mr. Chu Junwei.
For containing the spread of the virus in other cities, Beijing has been completely isolated from the rest of the country. Inside the city, military police were put on alert, and schools and colleges in the city have been closed. All the transport link connecting to Beijing is closed. The sports and other events in the city have been suspended.
The second wave of coronavirus in the world
COVID-19 is still at a peak in many parts of the world. The USA, Brazil, and the UK are the worst-hit country and still dealing with the worst phase of the outbreak. Every day thousands of new cases and thousand of death around the world is reported.
Many countries like Spain have ended their nationwide emergency and have opened their borders to most of the European countries; after 3 months and with approximately 30,000 deaths. In France, students have returned to school. As many countries loosen their lockdowns, the global picture still grins. With every day setting record of the maximum number of cases in a single day, many countries that somewhere succeeded in containing the virus are now showing signs of a second wave of coronavirus.
About half of the new cases came from Brazil and the US alone. Violence broke out in Germany when 700 people from an apartment block were quarantined. More than 100 workers have tested positive in the German meat processing plant.
South Korea has been one of the succeded nations in containing the outbreak. But officials say that a small but significant second wave of the virus has arrived much earlier than expected. South Korea has not imposed a nationwide lockdown but is implementing a huge test program. While the public of the country strictly follows the social distancing majors.
After reporting the maximum number of fresh coronavirus cases in the month on 12 June; Beijing is racing to quash the outbreak at an early stage. Mass contacting tracing is underway. Residents who have been to the Xinfadi market were tested at the Xuanwu Stadium at night.
Will Beijing become Wuhan 2.0
The condition of the two cities between Beijing and Wuhan are not comparable. But still, the outbreak in the city’s main market reminds the public of the outbreak in Wuhan. The current pandemic control mechanism in Beijing is much better than what was used in Wuhan, last year.
Zhao Dahai, Associate professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University says that; When the virus struck Wuhan, nobody knew anything about it and this was the reason for such horrible conditions in Wuhan. But now China knows what the novel coronavirus is and is capable of containing the spread of the virus in Beijing.
The virus in the second wave is different
Scientists in China got to know that the virus spreading in Beijing is different from the previously spread one in Wuhan. This time the virus is much more like the one which spreads in Europe.
Wu Zunyou, Chief Epidemiologist Chinese CDS says,” The virus strain found in Beijing looks like a European strain. But it does not necessarily mean that it came from European countries. It may be contaminated from goods or infected people coming to Beijing”.
What does the second wave tell?
The second wave of coronavirus has told that the virus is much more cunning and tricker than expected. Until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is found we need to be well prepared to battle against the virus.
“In Spite of the very strict disease controlling measures there are still some gaps in our knowledge and some blind spots in our preventive strategies”, says Dr. Zhu Huachen, Associate Professor, University of Hong Kong.
China is the first country to control the outbreak. It has already fought the battle with a virus in Wuhan which was far more serious; and now is well equipped to control it, in its capital city as well.