Perhaps this is the “real” definition of a new normal world; the on-off switch of reacting to a Coronavirus cluster.
Since last week, when a new cluster was discovered in Beijing’s largest seafood and vegetables market Xinfadi, Beijing quickly reacted to contain and minimize the threat that could delay its progress.
Authorities in Beijing have imposed a soft lockdown on the entire city, after over a 100 cases have been discovered in the last five days. The city raised its alert level from Level 3 to Level 2.
“A level two response doesn’t require stopping production and work,” said Chen Bei, a deputy secretary-general of the Beijing government, “It’s encouraging remote and flexible work.”
Officials had locked down more residential compounds, ordered more than 30,000 restaurants to be disinfected and tightened outbound travel.
The market has shut down since the weekend, and since it occupies 277 acres and has more than 2,000 stalls, supplying about 70% of the city’s vegetables and 10% of its pork, we can imagine some serious supply chain problems.
Two other Beijing food markets have been shut down due to confirmed cases linked to Xinfadi, leading to strict residential lockdowns in their districts.
Back to the beginning
For the rest of the city’s more than 20 million residents, non-essential travel out of town is strongly discouraged, according to the government announcement.
The city is reintroducing strict access rules, shutting down schools and recreational venues.
Gatherings at restaurants are also temporarily banned. Schools were getting ready to re-open, and some have just opened for a week, now, it’s back to home learning once more.
Museums, parks and libraries will not shut entirely, but must sharply limit numbers of visitors.
The Chinese government were reportedly shocked at the sudden spike of local transmission. Beijing had lowered its alert level for public health threats just 10 days earlier, after over 50 days of no local transmissions. This just highlights how the virus can easily return without any real explanation.
It will be a frustrating push and pull return for all countries, a new normal indeed.