The Chinese Government on Tuesday suspended long-distance bus services linking Beijing with the rest of the country as part of efforts to contain a coronavirus outbreak.
The suspension was as a result of the discovery of new cases traced back to the city’s largest agricultural market.
Health Ministry in China reported 40 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, of which 27 were in Beijing.
Four new cases were also identified in Hebei province, which surrounds the capital. All of those infected had come into contact with the Xinfadi wholesale market in the South-Western Fengtai District.
Services from the Xinfadi long-distance bus station, located next to the market, were suspended on Sunday.
Beijing News reported that most services leaving from the nearby Liuliqiao station would also be cancelled.
However, further efforts to prevent a second wave of infections intensified across the city.
Meanwhile, about 29 residential communities had been put under closed management, with all entry points guarded 24 hours a day and strict controls in place to prevent individuals from leaving or entering.
Earlier, schools and kindergartens in the immediate vicinity of the market had also been closed.
Students throughout Beijing are strongly recommended by the city’s education commission to study at home as a preventative measure.
Earlier, the capital’s working group on epidemic prevention stressed the need to lock down the market and adjacent neighbourhoods.
They also agreed to monitor and test residents in the vicinity, to prevent “high-risk” individuals from leaving the city, and to ensure that people wear face masks on public transport.
An epidemiologist from China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Wu Zunyou, said that the strain of the virus behind the Xinfadi outbreak clearly originates from Europe and was introduced by an infected person or object.
“The probability that the virus came from an intermediate host is approximately zero.
“I’m discounting the possibility that this strain of the coronavirus emerged from an animal host, like the initial outbreak in Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market,“ Zunyou said.
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