Beijing’s coronavirus outbreak is under control, Chinese health expert says

Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday the capital’s recent coronavirus outbreak has been brought under control.

The expert added at a press briefing that there may be new virus cases in coming days, but they would likely be discovered during the process of testing, not new transmissions.

After more than 50 days without domestically transmitted Covid-19 cases in Beijing, the city reported one case last Thursday last week. By Monday, 106 new confirmed cases had been recorded. The city reported 21 cases for Wednesday, down from 31 the day before, according to Reuters.

The bulk of the infections trace back to a major wholesale produce market called Xinfadi, located on the city outskirts, about 9 miles (14 kilometers) southwest of Tiananmen Square at the center of Beijing.

 “The epidemic in Beijing has been brought under control,” said Wu, according to a Reuters translation. “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.”

Chu Junwei, an official of Beijing’s southwestern Fengtai district, told reporters last weekend that the new cases had put the district on a “wartime emergency mode.” The city’s government locked down residential areas and has since raised its alert setting, closed schools and limited travel. 

The announcement Thursday pushed U.S. stock futures higher but still in negative territory. 

The coronavirus has killed nearly 450,000 people and infected over 8 million since it emerged from Wuhan, China, at the end of last year. The reemergence of the virus in China’s capital added further uncertainty for businesses and consumers, and weighed on global investor sentiment.

—CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this article.

Originally published on CNBC

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