China second wave: Chaos as panicked patients pack into hospital for COVID tests

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Men and women wearing masks can be seen queueing in a noisy hallway in Xijing Hospital in Xi’an. Many appear to be holding up documents as they stand shoulder to shoulder while a health worker uses a megaphone to address the crowds, in the clip obtained by Asia Wire. Social distancing is impossible given the number of people in the corridor.

Despite being nearly 700 miles away from Beijing, residents in the city are worried about the risk of a second wave of COVID-19.

Worries have been triggered by Beijing’s explosive new outbreak which has seen restrictions on movement and travel imposed.

Authorities in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province in north-western China, have been requesting that all inpatient and outpatient visitors be given nucleic acid tests, according to local residents online.

Similar chaotic scenes were seen in Wuhan at the height of the outbreak before the city was put on lockdown earlier this year.

Xi’an, a city of 12 million, has reported just 308 locally transmitted cases and three days since the start of the outbreak.

The provincial health commission said it had recorded one additional imported case on Tuesday.

The infected person was a passenger who had flown to Xi’an from Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, before he tested positive during quarantine.

A total of 158 new COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Beijing in just seven days.

The infections are believed to have originated in Beijing Xinfadi Agricultural Produce Wholesale Market.

Seventy percent of the city’s fresh fruit and vegetables pass through the site.

Coronavirus was found on chopping boards used to cut salmon.

This has prompted authorities to remove salmon from supermarket shelves across the capital.

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The market is 10 times the size of Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market – the suspected epicentre of the pandemic.

Cities as far as Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province in south-western China – some 1,200 miles away – have also recorded new cases.

Many of these fresh cases have since been traced to Xinfadi market in Beijing’s Fengtai District.

The second outbreak comes after the city did not report any new cases for nearly two months.

On Thursday a Chinese medical expert said the new outbreak in the capital had been brought under control.

But Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of China’s Centre for Diseases Prevention and Control, warned the city could still expect sporadic new cases.

He said: “The epidemic in Beijing has been brought under control.

“When I say that it’s under control, that doesn’t mean the number of cases will turn zero tomorrow or the day after.

“The trend will persist for a period of time, but the number of cases will decrease, just like the trend that we saw (in Beijing) in January and February.”

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