The World Health Organization called a coronavirus cluster of more than 100 cases in Beijing a “significant event.”
Speaking during a news briefing on Monday, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said, “In China, when you spend over 50 days without having any significant local transmission the cluster like this is a concern, and it needs to be investigated and controlled.”
“In that sense, it is big news. Within the grand scheme of things around the number of cases per day around the world, it's not, but it is significant event,” Ryan said.
“We're always concerned for clusters,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist.
Van Kerkhove said every single case needs to be addressed, “but clusters are a special condition, because in any country we need to understand why is there the clustering?”
Ryan said now is the time to investigate what’s driving the new infections.
Some background: Beijing is reintroducing strict lockdown measures and rolling out mass testing after a fresh cluster of novel coronavirus cases emerged from the city's largest wholesale food market, sparking fears of a resurgence of the deadly outbreak.
The cases are linked to Xinfadi market in the southwest of the city, which supplies most of the capital's fresh fruit and vegetables. The market, which also sells meat and seafood, has been shut down since Saturday.
The new cluster has sent shock waves throughout China, with Beijing's municipal government spokesperson Xu Hejian describing it as "an extraordinary period" during a news conference Sunday.
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