COVID-19 mutation outbreak in Beijing as officials rush to test all residents

Today, on 21st January 2021, Beijing began a drive to test two million people within 48 hours as the city expected a new local cluster of cases believe to be linked to a more contagious mutation of the Coronavirus.

People gathered in lines throughout the Chinese capital which reported 19 cases since the previous week. The mass testing campaign is going on in Dongcheng and Xicheng districts.

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News agency AFP saw one testing line stretch over 1,300 feet with approximately a thousand people waiting to be tested.

A Dongcheng resident said, “I received the notification this morning and thought I’d come during lunch hour; but there are so many people here in line.”

The other districts include Tiananmen Square and some government ministry office, and are holding around two million residents.

Officials hope to finish their campaign of testing by Saturday, 22nd January, 2021 and with the Lunar New Year holiday around the corner, a time when families get together even if it is traveling across the country, the officials want to avoid Beijing causing a mass outbreak again.

Locals have criticized this move using social media as the temperatures are freezing and lines are extremely long. They said that the queues for testing were “unending” .

On China’s platform similar to Twitter Weibo, one user said, “I queued for three hours and finally got tested.”

The Xicheng district government used social media to say that some confirmed cases had come into the area and that the risk for infections has increased. Dongcheng district put out a statement that the tests would be conducted in batches over Friday and Saturday for residents and workers.

A sub or partial lockdown has already begun in Beijing’s southern Daxing district. Five neighborhoods have been ordered to remain indoors and all 1.6 million citizens cannot leave the city.

This immediacy to test comes from China yet facing the highest number of cases after COVID-19 was detected in Wuhan in late 2019.

This variant or mutation is the same one that was termed as deadlier than coronavirus, originating from UK. It is also believed to be more transmissible, according to officials.

China has reported 103 new cases on 22nd January, 2021, including 6 cases in Shanghai and 3 in Beijing. Majority of the cases were in the northeast of the country.

Through their extreme lockdown measures and discipline, China managed to control the virus with lesser than 5,000 official deaths. But these local cases have stirred up the Chinese officials to get back into action.

The rest of the world continues to fight the pandemic with healthcare and hospitals being exhausted. The upcoming vaccines pose hope for the future.