Crowds gather for coronavirus tests in Beijing amid new outbreak

By Cate Cadell BEIJING (Reuters) - On a sweltering Beijing afternoon, police vehicles blocked roads near the Guangan Sports Center complex and security guards warned the public to stay clear as residents filed in for testing amid the city's COVID-19 outbreak. Staff in white PPE suits with megaphones yelled directions from gates, telling the crowds to gather in groups according to neighbourhood and avoid touching each other. 'We reported ourselves and they told us not to leave the house until the designated time,' said a 38-year-old woman surnamed Lu, who had visited the wholesale market at the heart of China's new outbreak early in the month and was among the nearly 100 residents at the centre on Monday afternoon

Reuters June 16, 2020 02:11:40 IST
Crowds gather for coronavirus tests in Beijing amid new outbreak

coronavirus tests in Beijing amid new outbreak" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/06-2020/16/2020-06-15T120318Z_2_LYNXMPEG5E0YN_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-CHINA.jpg" alt="Crowds gather for coronavirus tests in Beijing amid new outbreak" width="300" height="225" />

By Cate Cadell

BEIJING (Reuters) - On a sweltering Beijing afternoon, police vehicles blocked roads near the Guangan Sports Center complex and security guards warned the public to stay clear as residents filed in for testing amid the city's COVID-19 outbreak.

Staff in white PPE suits with megaphones yelled directions from gates, telling the crowds to gather in groups according to neighbourhood and avoid touching each other.

"We reported ourselves and they told us not to leave the house until the designated time," said a 38-year-old woman surnamed Lu, who had visited the wholesale market at the heart of China's new outbreak early in the month and was among the nearly 100 residents at the centre on Monday afternoon.

"It's possible to meet with a sick person in the crowd, but there's nothing to be done...everyone must be tested," she said.

A test organiser who asked not to be named told Reuters that they had carried out thousands of tests, showing a list of several dozen names from one neighbourhood in Beijing's west that had been flagged by local authorities.

The person said the tests were free of charge, as residents filed onto a soccer pitch to undergo oral nucleic acid swabs.

The site is one of several where over 10,000 people are expected to be tested following the outbreak that has paralysed pockets of the Chinese capital after almost two months of reporting no new locally-transmitted cases.

The tests began on Saturday and have expanded in a response that officials call a "wartime emergency."

Almost 80 cases were discovered in the sprawling Xinfadi market in Beijing's south, which was closed early on Saturday before health officials fanned out across the city to trace people who have links to the market or have recently been there.

Mass testing and rapid lockdowns are becoming normal to contain coronavirus flare-ups in China, which had largely quashed the spread of the virus since its February peak.

(Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Tony Munroe/Mark Heinrich)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.