- A Western reporter told how his phone rang after he attended the ‘sprawling’ Xinfadi wholesale market
- The market is where the new outbreak, of which there have been 158 confirmed cases so far, started
- Reporter Mark Schiefelbein was told to report to a nearby sports stadium to be tested for coronavirus
- A city official said 355,000 people had been identified for testing using ‘big data’ but did not say how
- Residents have also been urged not to travel outside Beijing and thousands of flights have been cancelled
Beijing is using phone data to round up more than 350,000 people for coronavirus testing as the country battles a second wave of coronavirus.
One western reporter revealed how he received a phone call ordering him to get tested after he attended the ‘sprawling’ Xinfadi wholesale market, where the new outbreak started.
A city official explained that 355,000 people had been identified for testing using ‘big data’.
It also emerged that at least 21million have had lockdown rules reimposed on them in China as part of fightback measures.
Checkpoints have been reimposed on all residential complexes in the city after its emergency response level was raised and residents are required to go through facial recognition cameras or show digital passes if they wish to enter or leave compounds.
Another 21 cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, the National Health Commission said, taking the total number of new infections to 158. The figure was down from 31 on Wednesday.
The decline in new cases prompted one of the country’s leading epidemiologists to say at a briefing on Thursday that the city’s outbreak is ‘under control’.
But crowds of people waiting to be tested have become a common sight in Beijing in recent days. Footage showed hordes of people packed into a corridor at a hospital in Shaanxi, west of Beijing, as they waited to be tested.