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Beijing to lower COVID-19 emergency response
update:July 20,2020
July 20,2020 -- Beijing will lower its emergency response to COVID-19 from level II to III starting Monday, an official of the Beijing municipal government said Sunday.
The city has effectively contained the spread of the virus after taking decisive and targeted measures to obstruct infection channels and beef up the prevention and control network, said Chen Bei, deputy secretary-general of the Beijing municipal government.
The city has reported no newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 for 14 consecutive days by Sunday, Chen told reporters. From June 11 to July 19, Beijing reported 335 confirmed COVID-19 cases in relation to the Xinfadi wholesale market.
People in Beijing now have a low risk of infection as the spreading of the virus in residential communities has been contained and the city also has a rather low risk of exporting cases to other regions, Chen said, explaining the basis for the downgrading.
By 3 p.m. Sunday, 219 of the 335 cases had been discharged from hospital after recovery and 116 were still hospitalized, but there were no severe or critical cases, said Gao Xiaojun, spokesman for the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, at a press briefing. Fourteen asymptomatic cases and five close contacts are still under observation and there is only one medium-risk area left, he said.
Xinfadi was targeted as a high-risk location within 22 hours of the new outbreak. Beijing immediately suspended the market, closed down nearby residential communities and put traders of the market under concentrated medical observation.
More than 11 million people in Beijing, about half of the capital's population, took nucleic acid tests between June 11 and July 6, according to local authorities.
After the downgrading, the city will continue to stick to the strategy of preventing imported cases and local resurgence, Chen said.
Imported cases continue to pose a major epidemic risk for Beijing as the COVID-19 pandemic is still spreading in many countries around the world, with the infections growing by larger numbers, she said.
To prevent local resurgence, the capital will step up epidemic control and prevention at farm produce markets, restaurants and canteens, construction sites, and factories. Environmental monitoring and health situation reporting will be carried out for farm produce markets. Underground spaces with poor ventilation will not be allowed to be used for business, she said.
The capital will also maintain stringent inspections of food imports. Chen reminds the public to wear masks in crowded venues and maintain social distancing.
With necessary prevention measures, conferences with around 500 participants will be allowed, she said. Exhibitions, sports events, shows and cinemas are expected to reopen gradually after risk appraisal.
The work resumption of enterprises in Beijing has returned to the level in early June, municipal authorities said at a press conference Saturday.
As of Thursday, most of the major commercial buildings, construction sites, industrial enterprises and supermarkets in Beijing had resumed operation, said Li Sufang, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Development and Reform Commission.
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