China continues to fight against the biggest outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 in ten months, on the eve of the anniversary of the historic, and hitherto unprecedented, closure of a city of eleven million inhabitants: the city of Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, in the heart of the country.
The Asian giant has already confined millions of people in three northern provinces and this Friday he began 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.
Although those figures do not include the asymptomatic – China does not do so as long as they do not show symptoms – and they have authorities in the capital and elsewhere on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
China has been exceeding two hundred infections a day -including the asymptomatic- most by local transmission and, although until now they are focused on the northern provinces, six new cases in Shanghai, much further south, and the possible undetected movement of infected they have unleashed the alerts.
First outbreak in a food factory
This Friday it was also known that ten new confirmed cases and 31 asymptomatic cases have been detected among the workers of 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 encountered coronavirus in frozen meat and fish imported, but so far it had not announced outbreaks in its food industry.
And this focus was detected in routine tests of citizens of Heilongjiang province, whose capital is Harbin, with a re-outbreak for days, raising concerns about other possible hidden infections.
Quickly testing millions of people is the method chosen by China to prevent some infected, especially asymptomatic, from being unidentified and, therefore, moving freely.
Millions of tests in Beijing
This Friday, long lines of people formed to do PCR in large neighborhoods of Beijing, which has ordered analyze in two days to the more than two million of inhabitants of the central districts of Doncheng and Xicheng, in addition to the tests that have already been done in Daxing and Shunyi, the two affected districts of the capital.
Municipal spokespersons also expressed concern about some breakthroughs in epidemic control in certain rural areas of the capital, where the regulations on masks, temperature controls or social distance have not been fully followed.
This Friday long lines of people formed to get PCR in large neighborhoods of Beijing. Photo: AFP
The control of covid in the field 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 quarantine in his family home.
Preventing unidentified infections from spreading during New Year’s trips, both in the countryside and in cities, has become one of Beijing’s top priorities.
Wuhan is not afraid
In the city where it all began, the Wuhan people say they trust the government’s measures and not fear that the nightmare of January 23, 2020, could be repeated, when for the first time in history a city of that magnitude was closed tightly. for 78 days, with eleven million people locked up.
The supposed zero zone of the pandemic, the Huanan fish and seafood market, appeared this Friday desolate and closed by a large blue and white fence over 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 do not be afraid for the virus to return to Wuhan again.
A man in a mask picks out a chicken at a street market in Wuhan, China. Photo: EFE
“We were lucky because we left on January 8 for the New Year holidays, before they close the city. 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 holiday period in which she does not plan, in any case, to move from the city, as well than many of his plant colleagues.
At the bottom of the second floor, a corridor leads to stairs that lead down to the market, but the guard who follows us everywhere From the moment we entered, it does not allow us to descend them, or film anything in the entire plant.
Still, we peered into the stairwell, a kind of black hole that seems to suck you into hell, though we can barely make out a locked door in the dark.
The author is a journalist for the EFE agency