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People who visited or live near the Xinfadi food market queue for coronavirus swab testing at Guang’an Sport Center in Beijing, on June 14. Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Health officials in Beijing are working to trace around 200,000 people who visited a wholesale seafood market which is at the centre of a major coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese capital.

The city has reported more than 79 new coronavirus cases since last Thursday, most of which are linked to the Xinfadi food market.

Authorities are trying to trace all those who have visited the site since May 30. The market is a key source of food supplies in the city, and has been shut down in the aftermath of the outbreak.

At least 11 neighborhoods surrounding the area have also been sealed off.

“We have organized door-knocking activities, that means we will visit people [who have visited the market] at their doorstep, call them or contact them on WeChat and other apps,” Xu Ying, a Beijing city government official, said on Monday.
“Now … we are organizing the nucleic acid tests and at-home quarantine for them.”

Xinfadi market makes up about 80% of Beijing’s entire farm produce supply. Some 18,000 tons of vegetables and 20,000 tons of fruit are at the market every day, according to Chinese state-run media organization CGTN.

Wang Hongcun, a Beijing city government official, said authorities were working to guarantee food supplies for the city in the wake of the market’s closure.

China said on Monday that it was in close communications with the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the latest outbreak.

“China and the World Health Organization have been in close communication on the latest development of Covid-19,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.

Zhao said he did not have any information on whether Chinese health officials have shared the gene sequencing from the latest cluster of cases in Beijing with the WHO.

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