As Beijing battles to contain a fresh wave of coronavirus, a 52-year-old man has been identified as 'Patient Zero' of the second wave of the fatal virus. So far 158 cases have been confirmed positive in the Chinese capital.
China, which has so far refused to accept that the coronavirus originated in the country, has still not revealed the name of the patient zero of the first wave that erupted in the Wuhan province in December last year. With no signs of slowing down, COVID-19 has infected over 8.5 million people and killed more than 456,000 worldwide.
Patient Zero Had No Travel History
Beijing's patient zero, a 52-year old man identified as Tang, visited the Xinfadi wholesale market to purchase fish for his children on June 3. He hails from Xicheng. The wholesale market was closed soon after cases were reported in an apparent second wave.
Speaking to Beijing TV, Tang, who is now being called the grandpa of Xicheng, said: "I went to buy some fish. My children wanted to have fish. I thought I'd go buy some, and then I got hit (by the virus)." Lying on his hospital bed, Tang said that after he went to the hospital last Wednesday, he tested positive for the virus.
Tang said that he has not gone to any establishments or left the city for the past two weeks and did not have close contact with anyone traveling in Beijing.
Tang's was the first officially recorded case in the capital after it went virus-free for nearly two months, reported The Sun. Since Tang, 157 people, mostly linked to Asia's biggest wholesale food market, have tested positive.
Beijing Seals its Borders, Uses Mobiles to Trace Possible Cases
The Irish Sun reported that China is also using mobile phone data to identify anyone who has been in the area around the Xinfadi market. Associated Press journalist Mark Schiefelbein was among the 350,000 contacted by authorities in Beijing, according to the outlet.
"After word first emerged of a cluster of cases at a sprawling wholesale market in the Chinese capital, I had gone to the area to take photographs. My phone rang on Wednesday afternoon. An official from my neighborhood's community association informed me that I should shortly report to the gates of a nearby sports stadium to be bused to a coronavirus testing site. The caller did not know my name, but they knew that someone associated with my cellphone number had been in the vicinity of the market," Schiefelbein said.
Soon after the second wave hit the Chinese capital, authorities clamped down the borders prohibiting the movement of travelers outside Beijing. Thousands of flights have been canceled and the city's emergency response level has been raised to the second-highest level.
Close contacts of the positive cases were being traced to locate all possible cases immediately, reported Science Times. Under the new guidelines, foreign diplomats arriving from abroad are required to undergo the two-week quarantine period at home.