China struggles to curb virus a year after historic Wuhan shutdown

The Chinese Government continues to fight against the biggest outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 in ten months, a year after the historic, and until then unprecedented, closure of a city of eleven million inhabitants: the city of Wuhan, capital of the Hubei province, in the heart of the country.

The Asian giant has already confined millions of people in three northern provinces and has begun to test as many in large areas of Beijing, which added three new cases in the Daixing district and marks a total of 14 since last Sunday.

Though these figures do not include the asymptomatic -China does not do it as long as they do not show symptoms- and that they bring head to the authorities of the capital and other places.

China has been exceeding two hundred daily infections – including asymptomatic ones – for days, most of them due to local transmission and, although so far they are focused on the northern provinces, six new cases in Shanghai, well further south, and the possible movement of infected undetected have triggered alerts.

First outbreak at a local food factory

In the last hours it has also been known that ten new confirmed cases and 31 asymptomatic ones have been detected among workers in a chicken factory in the northern city of Harbin, owned by the Thai company Charoen Pokphand, one of the largest poultry producers in the world .

China has often found coronavirus in imported frozen meat and fish, but so far it had not announced outbreaks in its food industry.

And this outbreak was detected in the routine tests of citizens of Heilongjiang province, whose capital is Harbin, with a re-outbreak for days, which increases concern about other possible hidden infections.

Quickly testing millions of people is the method chosen by China to prevent someone infected, especially asymptomatic, from being unidentified and, therefore, moving freely.

Millions of tests in Beijing

This Friday, long lines of people formed to carry out PCR in large neighborhoods of Beijing, which has ordered the analysis of the more than two million inhabitants of the central districts of Doncheng and Xicheng in two days, in addition to the tests that have already been carried out. in Daxing and Shunyi, the two affected districts of the capital.

Municipal spokespersons also expressed concern about some breakdowns of epidemic control in some rural areas of the capital, where the regulations on masks, temperature controls or social distance have not been fully followed.

Controlling covid in the countryside is one of the biggest concerns of the Chinese government, which has forced hundreds of millions of immigrants who habitually return to their villages for the Lunar New Year -on February 12 this year- to undergo tests already two weeks of quarantine in his family home.

Prevent unidentified infections from spreading during New Years tripsBoth in the countryside and in the cities, it has become one of Beijing’s top priorities.

Wuhan says not to be afraid

And meanwhile, in the city where it all began, the Wuhan say they trust the government’s measures and do not fear that the nightmare of January 23, 2020, could be repeated, when for the first time in history a city was closed tightly and completely. of that magnitude for 78 days, with eleven million people locked up.

The supposed ground zero of the pandemic, the Huanan fish and seafood market, appeared desolate and closed by a large blue and white fence more than three meters high, which prevents any gaze inside from the street.

Its second floor is open, however, and full of glasses stores without customers, although several guards at the entrance request a multitude of information and scan health codes from Efe journalists, before allowing them to enter.

There -just above the epicenter of the covid- Yana Jung |, who runs one of the dozens of opticians that occupy the entire extension of the market one floor above, says he is not afraid that the virus will return to Wuhan again.

“We were lucky because we left on January 8 for the New Year holidays, before the city was closed. None of the workers at this plant was infected,” he says, despite the fact that the virus had exploded in the market for almost a month before the day it says they closed.

This 52-year-old woman believes that China’s strict measures against outbreaks will prevent the covid from reaching Wuhan again, despite the trips of the next vacation period in which he does not think, in any case, to move from the city, like many of his colleagues consulted by Efe.

At the end of the second floor, a corridor leads to some stairs that go down to the market, but the guard who follows us everywhere since we entered does not allow us to descend them, or to film anything on the entire floor.

Still, we peek into the stairwell, a kind of black hole that seems to suck you into hell, although we can barely make out a closed door in the dark.

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