Chain of transmission for outbreak linked to Heaven supermarket bars all but snuffed out, Beijing official says

A person walks past the closed Heaven Supermarket bar in Beijing on June 9. Photo: PFC

Beijing has not recorded any coronavirus transmission outside quarantined compounds for three consecutive days from Saturday, and the chain of transmission for the outbreak linked to the Heaven Supermarket bar has been crushed, an official said. town.

The capital has overcome unprecedented challenges and risks in the past 10 days since the new outbreak took place on June 9, Beijing government spokesman Xu Hejian said at a conference on Saturday. Still, the city hasn’t seen any new COVID-19 cases outside the quarantine zone for three days, and the current epidemic’s chain of transmission has been crushed, Xu said.

Beijing recorded a total of nine COVID-19 cases on Friday, all linked to the rowdy Heaven Supermarket Bar, the epicenter of the capital’s latest outbreak. It is the first time the number of confirmed cases has fallen to single digits since the latest outbreak hit Beijing last week.

All of the cases were found in quarantine areas, local authorities said on Saturday. Beijing is also expected to resume operation of subway stations closed due to the outbreak on Sunday.

Residents scan QR codes to register their health status at the entrance to a residential area in Zhongguancun of Haidian District, Beijing, capital of China, June 12, 2022. Beijing's Zhongguancun region has imposed restrictions more stringent COVID-19 prevention and control measures amid recent outbreak.  At the community level, these include stricter recording of visitor information, health code tracking, temperature screening and verification of negative COVID-19 test results. .  (Xinhua/Ren Chao)

Residents scan QR codes to register their health condition at the entrance of a residential area in Zhongguancun, Haidian District, Beijing, capital of China, June 12, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

As of Friday, a total of 369 cases have been reported in the outbreak linked to Heaven supermarket since June 9.

“The continued decline in cases is definitely a positive trend which means we may already be at the tail end of this outbreak,” said a Beijing-based immunologist, who declined to be named. But the immunologist believed that even if this epidemic was effectively contained, sporadic cases could still emerge in the city, as the source of the Heaven Supermarket Bar remains unknown.

The recent outbreak was sparked by a patron at the bar last week who had not had a test for 14 days before visiting the bar. Beijing has asked all its residents to undergo nucleic acid testing every three days or the health code will send out notifications. People are also required to show their health codes before entering public places.

Still, the immunologist believed that with effective testing and quarantine measures in hand, and accumulated experience in battling the more infectious variant of Omicron, Beijing would not experience a major outbreak in the near future. “Warm weather also helps [in cutting off the viral transmission],” he added.

At a press conference on Friday, Liu Xiaofeng, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, said Beijing is seeing a positive trend in containing the virus, but there should be no letting up. virus prevention efforts, and urged people to stick to all virus prevention policies.

Since the outbreak at Heaven Supermarket, Beijing has conducted a thorough review of public places, especially entertainment venues and restaurants in Chaoyang District, where the bar is located, of their implementation of COVID-prevention policies. 19.

A total of 68 businesses, including some barbecue restaurants in Chaoyang District, have been notified for their failed efforts in implementing COVID-19 prevention measures.

Several other workers in public service sectors in Beijing, including a branch of the Beijing Municipal People’s Procuratorate, were also punished for violating COVID-19 policies by gathering to drink.

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