Chinese authorities have declared martial law in the city of Baoding in Hebei province, amid the new COVID-19 cluster at Xinfadi, the largest wholesale market in Beijing, local municipal authorities said on Monday. “The epidemic response centre announced a hasty declaration of martial law and the launch of a wartime mechanism to prevent the spread of the epidemic in Baoding,” the statement said.
According to the statement, a high degree of vigilance is required, given the fact that Baoding is located next to Beijing and there is an intense movement of goods and people between the cities. Baoding, with a population of over 11 million, is located 90 miles (nearly 145 kilometres) southwest of Beijing.
The authorities closed Xinfadi on Saturday after authorities discovered 46 asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers linked to the market following mass testing. Moreover, a lockdown was reimposed in the Fengtai district of the capital, where the market is located. The city authorities have said that all people who work at Xinfadi or visited the place since May 30 will take nucleic acid tests to detect if they are infected with COVID-19.
A total of 79 people infected with COVID-19 are currently receiving treatment in Beijing hospitals. Prior to June 11, Beijing had not registered a single local case of coronavirus infection for 56 days. The current coronavirus pandemic started in China in December of last year. Initial reports indicated that the start of the COVID-19 epidemic in China was linked to a market in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province.