Beijing reports zero virus cases for first time since new outbreak
BEIJING- Agence Frace-Presse
Beijing on July 7 reported zero new coronavirus cases for the first time since the emergence of a cluster in the Chinese capital in June that prompted fears of a domestic second wave.
A total of 335 people have been infected since a cluster emerged at the city’s massive Xinfadi wholesale market in early June.
Beijing’s health commission said on Tuesday it detected only one asymptomatic case the previous day, which China does not include in its confirmed cases counts.
While Chinese authorities are still investigating the cause of the latest outbreak, the virus was detected on chopping boards used to handle imported salmon at Xinfadi market, prompting a ban on certain imports and increased scrutiny of foreign food suppliers.
The Beijing government has tested more than 11 million people for COVID-19 since June 11 - roughly half the city’s population, officials said at a press conference Monday.
Residents lined up in the summer heat at testing venues across the city in June, with hundreds of thousands of samples collected each day.
Localized lockdowns across the city have been eased in recent days, with people living in areas of the city considered "low risk" now allowed to travel freely again.
Beijing’s outbreak is "stabilizing and improving," Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the city’s center for disease control, told reporters Monday.
China had largely brought the deadly outbreak under control before the new Beijing cluster was detected last month.
The government has since also imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people in neighboring Hebei province to contain a fresh cluster there, adopting the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the epicenter of Wuhan city earlier this year.
Fauci warns US is ’knee-deep’ in first wave of coronavirus
Meanwhile, the United States is still "knee-deep" in its first wave of coronavirus infections and must act immediately to tackle the recent surge, the country’s top infectious diseases expert said on July 6.
Anthony Fauci said the number of cases had never reached a satisfactory baseline before the current resurgence, which officials have warned risks overwhelming hospitals in the country’s south and west.
"It’s a serious situation that we have to address immediately," Fauci said in a web interview with National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins.
But Fauci added he did not strictly consider the ongoing rise in cases a "wave."
"It was a surge or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline," he said.
"If you look at the graphs from Europe, the European Union as an entity, it went up and then came down to the baseline. Now they’re having little blips, as you might expect, as they try to reopen. We went up, never came down to baseline, and now we’re surging back up."
The death toll from the virus in the U.S. hit 130,000 Monday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, and the number of infections is nearing three million.
A worrying number of new cases were reported amid a resurgence that has forced several states to suspend phased economic reopenings.
Fauci, who heads America’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is a leading member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force and has become a trusted face in the administration’s battle against the epidemic.
The U.S. is the world’s hardest-hit nation from the virus and has been struggling to come to grips with a new normal of social distancing and mask-wearing.
Officials have warned that some of the country’s hospitals are in danger of being overwhelmed by the influx of COVID-19 patients.
Hospital beds are full in parts of Texas, while calls for fresh stay-at-home orders are growing.
Some mayors have said their cities reopened too early as Trump tries to downplay the severity of the crisis, prioritizing economic reopening instead.