Asia Today: Beijing outbreak seems to be on the brink of a downturn

Asia Today: Beijing outbreak seems to be on the brink of a downturn

BEIJING (AP) – New virus cases declined on Wednesday in China and in the capital Beijing, where a peak of about two weeks seems to be on the decline.

In total, 12 cases were reported for the country, compared to 22 the day before. Beijing reported seven cases, compared to 13, while the other two reported in neighboring Hebei Province and three were reported as coming from abroad by Chinese travelers.

No new deaths were reported and 359 remained in treatment for COVID-19, with an additional 118 for monitoring and isolation to test positive for the virus without showing symptoms or showing suspected cases.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths among 83,430 COVID-19 cases since the virus was first discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

During the Beijing outbreak in June, there were more than 200 cases, most of which related to the city’s largest wholesale market, leading to a number of new closings and cancellation of classes. Since then, 3 million test samples have been taken from 2.43 million people in the city, a senior municipal health official said Tuesday. Since June 11, a total of 249 people have been infected in Beijing.

The city can now run more than 300,000 nucleic acid tests per day, compared to 40,000 in March, said Zhang Hua, deputy director of the Beijing Health Commission.

High-risk groups in the markets involved in the outbreak, as well as in the surrounding communities, were given a testing priority, along with workers in restaurants, supermarkets, food deliverers, and parcel couriers.

“It is very important for early infection detection, early isolation and treatment, rapid dissemination and effective control of the epidemic,” Zhang said.

Beijing’s Xicheng District Government eases some of the measures tightened during the outbreak, including lifting the closure of seven residential complexes near the Tiantao Honglian market in the district that were imposed to prevent new cross-contamination.

In other developments around the Asia-Pacific region:

– Australia recorded its first death from COVID-19 in a month, raising the national toll rate of the new coronavirus to 103. Authorities in the state of Victoria said a man in his eighties died overnight, making the state total rose to 20. The state registered a double-digit increase in cases for an eighth consecutive day, with 20 new cases confirmed on Wednesday. There have been more than 7,500 infections in Australia. Brett Sutton, Victoria’s chief health officer, says 241 cases in the state have been identified as community transfer, up eight from Tuesday.

– South Korea has reported an additional 51 cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, continuing an upward trend in new infections. Figures released Wednesday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought the country’s total to 12,535 with 281 deaths. It says 10,930 people have recovered, while 1,324 people remain under treatment for COVID-19 disease. South Korea reported about 40-50 cases every day for the past two weeks amid increased public activity and decreased attitudes towards social distance. There is also a revival in imported cases. The KCDC says that 20 of the 51 newly reported cases came from abroad, while 31 patients were infected locally.

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