Gyms, swimming pools in Beijing forced to shut again as country fears second wave of coronavirus
Gyms in China’s capital city of Beijing have been forced to close their doors again over fears of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
New cases of COVID-19 in Beijing has increased concerns about a resurgence of the virus, “turning a major business and residential district into the highest-risk region in the country,” reports CNBC. Over 200 fitness centers were closed in Beijing in the first quarter, shows an analysis. “This past weekend, many gyms that had reopened in the city announced they were told to close again,” says the April 21 CNBC report.
In the southern part of the country, the Guangzhou National Fitness Center also issued a statement on April 18, which said that the Center will be temporarily closed from April 19. “Telephone appointments and group access appointment methods will be closed at the same time. The reopening time will be notified separately,” says the notice.
The Beijing district of Chaoyang has been declared a high-risk zone after a number of transmissions from abroad led to local transmissions. People who are now coming back to Beijing from anywhere, either domestic or international, have to undergo two tests to determine if they have COVID-19 or not — one before a 14-day quarantine starts, and one at the end of the quarantine. “Barely weeks after re-opening, Beijing’s health clubs have been ordered to close following a spike in coronavirus infections. The authorities are having to re-impose strict quarantine periods on people returning from overseas. That has forced gyms, health clubs and swimming pools to shut up shop for the foreseeable future, with devastating consequences for the industry,” reports The Telegraph.
Zhao Hui, 30, the owner of Upower Fitness in Beijing, told The Telegraph: “On April 16, after we passed the inspection, we were able to start trial operation. Then on April 18, they suddenly asked us to close again. I felt very frustrated. We just saw hope, but then it was gone, and we could not operate again.”
Recently, a cluster of new COVID-19 cases was identified in China’s northeastern city of Harbin, in the Heilongjiang province. The outbreak was traced to an 87-year old, who was treated for a cerebral stroke in Harbin No 2 Hospital between April 2 and 6. He was then transferred to First Hospital, which is affiliated to Harbin Medical University. The man, identified as Chen, may have infected over 30 people. “All villages and communities (residential communities) are required to prohibit the entry of persons and vehicles that are not their own villages and communities (residential communities). Family gatherings are to be strictly prevented and strictly prevent gathering in public places. During the epidemic prevention and control period, all kinds of performances, events, forums, exhibitions and other largescale activities are closed,” say guidelines for Harbin city issued by the local government.
Another fresh cluster of cases has broken out among the medical staff at Jia County People’s Hospital in China’s Henan province. As a result, authorities have imposed travel restrictions, with non-essential travel banned between villages and communities. An official document stipulates that any person who comes in and out of residential compounds has to wear a facemask, have their temperature taken and produce a certificate to prove they are healthy.
The province of Shaanxi recently reported 21 new infections from abroad, as well as seven cases with no clinical symptoms, all travelers on a commercial flight from Moscow bound for Beijing.
A recent study suggested that China’s aggressive control measures appear to have halted the first wave of COVID-19 in areas outside Hubei province, the epicenter of the pandemic. However, given the substantial risk of the virus being reintroduced from abroad and with economic activity increasing, real-time monitoring of COVID-19 transmissibility and severity is needed to protect against a possible second wave of infection, researchers warned.
China’s National Health Commission has received 11 new cases of confirmed infections (5 imported cases and 6 indigenous cases) on April 25, but no new cases of suspected infections and no deaths, says the latest statement issued on April 26. Overall, as of April 25, the Commission had received reports of 82,827 confirmed cases and 4,632 deaths from across China.