Food delivery man may be Beijing’s COVID-19 super spreader
Beijing, June 24: A delivery man of Beijing's popular food platform is feared to be the super spreader of Covid-19 after he tested positive amid a new wave of coronavirus clusters in the Chinese capital.
China's health authority on Tuesday reported 29 newly confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 13 in the capital Beijing where 249 virus-affected people are undergoing treatment.
According to China's National Health Commission, 29 new cases, including seven asymptomatic cases, were reported in the country on Monday.
As of Monday, 99 asymptomatic cases were still under medical observation, it said.
Beijing's mass testing of millions of its residents is on after a new cluster of cases emerged in late May.
The Chinese capital reported 13 newly confirmed domestically-transmitted Covid-19 cases, two suspected infections and one asymptomatic on Monday, the municipal health commission said on Tuesday.
From June 11 to 22, Beijing has reported 249 confirmed domestically-transmitted cases, all of whom were receiving treatment in hospitals, it said.
Twenty-two asymptomatic cases are still under medical observation, it said.
Just as the health officials of Beijing began to announce that the new coronavirus attack is getting under control, a delivery man from China's leading food delivery platform ele.me in the city was confirmed to be infected with Covid-19.
According to health authorities in Beijing, the 47-year-old delivery man had been offering services across a wide area in the capital between June 1 and June 17, involving the streets of Daxing, Fangshan, Dongcheng and Fengtai districts.
It is the first case in the food delivery industry to have been confirmed in the capital, sparking widespread public concerns as residents rely heavily on delivery services for necessities amid the epidemic, state-run Global Times reported on Tuesday.
The patient delivered 50 orders a day on average in the past few weeks, according to the health authorities.
The platform said that the company had conducted nucleic acid tests on its entire delivery staff.
Delivery men who have had close contact with the infected persons have been barred from receiving orders and are now in quarantine at designated isolation centres, the platform said.
Xu Hejian, spokesman for the municipal government, told the media on Monday that Beijing had effectively kept the coronavirus outbreak from spreading and the new local cases were decreasing as the capital uses multiple measures to reduce infections.
"Beijing has contained the spread of Covid-19 cases," Xu said, adding that the epidemic may be showing signs of abating.
However, strict measures will remain in place because ending the outbreak remains a complicated task, he said.
In the next step, Beijing will continue to implement the strict control and prevention network created in key areas such as restaurants, hospitals and schools. The city also will strengthen food safety controls and increase its nucleic acid testing ability, he said.
So far, Beijing has designated four communities as high-risk and 39 as medium-risk for epidemic control. This represents targeted measures to contain the spread of the virus, including locking down communities in high-risk zones.
Pang Xinghuo, deputy head of the Beijing Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, re-emphasised the importance of hand-washing and social distancing at Monday's news conference.
As of Saturday, about 2.3 million people in the capital had been tested for the novel coronavirus, the Beijing Health Commission said.
By Monday, the overall confirmed cases in China had reached 83,418, including 359 patients who were still being treated, with 13 in severe condition.
Altogether 78,425 people had been discharged after recovery and 4,634 people had died of the disease, the NHC said.