Beijing Reports Zero New Coronavirus Cases for First Time Since Flare-Up.

Beijing has reported no additional confirmed Covid-19 cases Tuesday. This is the first time there have been no new cases (link in Chinese) since an outbreak first emerged at a wholesale food market in the suburbs of the Chinese capital 26 days ago on June 11, according to the Beijing municipal health commission.

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The recent flare-up has sickened 335 patients, 320 of whom are still hospitalized while 15 other patients have recovered. Additionally, a total of 31 cases without symptoms are under medical observation.

The background: Beijing has been reporting consecutive single-digit increases in daily confirmed cases for more than a week. Wu Zunyou, the top epidemiologist at the Chinese national center for disease prevention and control, said on June 29 that Beijing may be free of new coronavirus cases “in about a week.”

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However, an asymptomatic case reported Friday with 204 close contacts fueled public fears. The 24-year-old woman had tested negative for the coronavirus three times before a fourth test Thursday confirmed she was infected.

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Zhang Wenhong, a top infectious disease expert at Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, supported a “near-zero” approach to contain any scattered flare-ups of new cases. At an event Sunday, he said: “If [we] want to pursue of a zero case target, there will be mounting pressure [to achieve that], unless we never open the country again.”

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