Beijing tests of food parcels and mails that coronavirus checks expand

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BEIJING (Reuters) – Officials in Beijing are conducting tests to detect the presence of coronavirus on the food and parcel delivery workers in an effort to curb a new epidemic, supported by the state media reported Saturday.

Frozen seafood products, imports of shrimp are seen inside a sealed freezer in a supermarket is following a new outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Beijing, China, June 19, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Officials in the Chinese capital have been expanding nucleic acid testing in the city of 20 million dollars from a cluster of related infections at a food wholesale market erupted a little over a week.

The epidemic, the first in Beijing in the month, has now exceeded the previous peak number in the city at the beginning of February.

A nucleic acid test is a collection of the rear of a person, throat, or respiratory tract, and the sample is tested for the presence of the coronavirus genome.

The trial was initially focused on the residential areas near to the sprawling Xinfadi market, and on the people who have worked or shopped there.

Officials are now targeting the tens of thousands of delivery staff, who regularly crosses the city, where the fleets of rickshaws, motorized and scooters ridden by couriers delivering parcels and food are a common sight.

The workers at SF Express, China is the second largest courier company, arrived in batches at the test points in Beijing on Friday evening, the Beijing News reported.

The food delivery firm, Meituan Dianping (3690.HK) has confirmed that all of its riders in the city will be put to the test, and those who have carried out deliveries in high-risk areas would be temporarily out of service, undergo nucleic acid testing and be quarantined at home for 14 days.

Customers will be able to see the details on the disinfection of the delivery of packages and mail of the temperature of the body in line, Meituan said on its Wechat account.

Beijing News said that all the mails in the city will be tested within the next week.

The officials have highlighted the risk of contamination of the packaging in Beijing, which has reported 22 new cases on Friday. The capital has now recorded more than 200 locally-transmitted infections since June 11.

Officials have been testing people working in the restaurant, including the restaurant staff, as well as imported food after the virus has been found on cutting boards to Xinfadi used to treat the salmon.

WHOLE COMMUNITIES TO BE TESTED

A total of 2.3 million of nucleic acid tests have been carried out in Beijing, from 0600 local time on Saturday (2200 GMT Friday), Zhang Qiang, an official from the Beijing municipal committee, said at a press conference.

Residents of 40 communities under lockdown in the capital are required to self-isolate at home to prevent transmission of the virus, Zhang said.

Those who do not comply will ideally be quarantined for 14 days, after which they must take another nucleic acid test and are free to leave if the result is negative, he added.

In the district of Dongcheng, in the eastern part of Beijing, two Reuters journalists were given notice Friday that all those who live in their communities should be tested, even if they have been in low-risk areas.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Dongcheng currently has four areas designated as medium risk, as he is now 34 years old average-risk neighborhoods throughout the city.

Mainland China has seen 27 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, with four imported products, and the other local transmission reported in the northern province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing.

There were no new deaths recorded on Friday, leaving the death toll to 4,634.

Reporting by Tom Daly and Xiao Han; Additional reporting by Ryan Woo and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Jane Wardell and Mike Harrison

Our Principles:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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