As we send our children back off to school here in Australia, Beijing has ordered all primary and secondary schools to shut their doors as officials escalate their response to a brand new and terrifying COVID-19 outbreak.
At the same time, Beijing officials are ordering a soft lockdown of the city, with limitations on who can and can’t enter the city. A new coronavirus outbreak in Beijing city has infected more than 106 people in the past five days.
Yesterday alone saw 27 people testing positive to the virus, all of them having connections with a massive food wholesale market, Xinfadi, with authorities believing the food market is at the root of this new coronavirus outbreak.
It’s been reported by city officials that contaminated goods and environment along with interpersonal communication is to blame.
Not only that, but it’s also reported a researcher from the Beijing Centre for Diseases Prevention and Control has told media that the virus strain found inside the market likely originated in Europe.
On Saturday, authorities in Beijing locked down 11 residential communities near the Xinfadi market, with white fencing sealing off a road leading to apartment building. Drivers being required to show identification to enter the area.
And so it begins. Again.
Beijing orders schools to close immediately
Children of Beijing will not be enjoying spending time with their friends in the schoolyard or classroom anytime soon. All Beijing primary and secondary schools must shut their campus doors and start teaching online from tomorrow, with the government classifying the newest COVID-19 outbreak as a ‘severe’ public health emergency. Thus raising the alert level from ‘three’ to ‘two’.
Beijing in quarantine lockdown
Residential areas close by to the Xinfadi market have been marked as high risk and have gone into lockdown in a bid to stop the spread of infection. Those who live near Xinfadi market or have visited in the past fortnight are now banned from leaving Beijing. As for the rest of the capital’s residents, only people with a negative COVID-19 testing result in the past week are allowed to travel outside of the city.
Amazingly, Beijing’s testing capacity has been expanded to a MASSIVE 90,000 tests a day, according to state news agency Xinhua.
New coronavirus outbreak – a lesson for Australia
China is undoubtedly in the grips of crisis. In a country that desperately needs to claw back an economic recovery while dealing with (and containing) the ongoing COVID-19 spread. And we Aussies can sympathise. We’re feeling the ripple effect here in Australia too, but there’s a lesson in this latest Beijing coronavirus outbreak for us all.
It’s said that China had eased much of its anti-coronavirus measures in recent months as the government were confident that they had overcome the disease which stemmed from Wuhan last year. And this should be a cause of concern for us. The return of crowded shops, markets and people being relaxed with hygiene standards as seen in Beijing, shouldn’t be something we rush back into here if it means keeping our communities safe.
Stay home, stay safe and perhaps don’t delete Zoom from your home computers just yet in case the kids return for a second stint of homeschooling (in which case, join our Homeschooling Mums Australia Facebook Group for all the support you need!).