Eleven residential estates in southwestern Beijing have been locked down due to a fresh cluster of coronavirus cases linked to a nearby meat market, local officials said on Saturday.
Forty-five out of 517 samples so far collected from merchants and employees at the Xinfadi meat market have tested positive for the virus, according to the People’s Daily.
Xinfadi, which has 4,000 tenants, was ordered shut to be disinfected after the virus was found in the environment, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The chairman of the wholesale market told state-run Beijing News that the virus was detected on chopping boards used to handle imported salmon.
Major supermarket chains throughout the city have subsequently removed salmon from their shelves, Beijing Youth Daily reported.
Chu Junwei, a Fengtai district official, told a news briefing that the area was in “wartime emergency mode.”
Residents of 11 estates in the district were ordered to remain in quarantine.
A second market, which provides 90% of the city’s fruits and vegetables, was also shut after a cluster of four new Covid-19 cases was traced back to the site.
Nine nearby schools and kindergartens have told to close next week.
The fresh cases are the first locally transmitted infections in the Chinese capital in more than 50 days.
China has remained vigilant for signs of a fresh wave of local infections, which could see officials forced to shut down large parts of the country’s economy for a second time.
Most of the recent cases in China were citizens living abroad who were tested as they returned home during the pandemic.
The novel coronavirus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December and is believed to have jumped from an animal to humans at a market that sold wildlife.