CHINA Beijing's Xinfadi wholesale market reopens as COVID-19 outbreak ebbs

CHINA

Beijing's Xinfadi wholesale market reopens as COVID-19 outbreak ebbs

Xinhua

14:30, August 15, 2020

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Beijing's Xinfadi wholesale market. (Photo: chinanews.com)

BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- A fleet of trucks loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables heralded the reopening of Xinfadi, a large wholesale market of fruits, vegetables and meat, Saturday morning after its business was suspended due to a COVID-19 cluster related to the market about two months back.

More than 1,000 trucks are expected to deliver some 13,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables to the 112-hectare market on Saturday, helping recover about 60 percent of its normal transaction volumes for fruits and vegetables.

Wang Jie, 36, a buyer who drove to the market with his colleagues, said he was required to register his personal and vehicle information online one day in advance. He added that prior to his entry, he had to undergo temperature screening and his identity was verified via a facial recognition machine at the gate.

"The market has changed so much that I can barely recognize it," said Wang, adding the place has undergone a massive makeover in the past two months, with new roads and renovations making its operation more organized.

"The market resumed business much quicker than we expected," said Wang.

"The local government took prompt actions and everyone was very cooperative, so this time I didn't panic much. Now the market looks much better," he added.

Apart from advanced equipment and strict epidemic prevention measures, the market has also introduced a third-party testing institution to provide regular COVID-19 tests on different environments, goods, packaging materials and public facilities in the market.

Meanwhile, trading in the underground and semi-underground zones of the market have been banned completely.

The market will be fully operational by Sept. 10, according to Zhou Xinchun, executive deputy head of Fengtai District, where the market is located.

The market will cease its retail business and close doors to individual consumers after the reopening, and all sellers and buyers are required to complete real-name authentication before entering the market, said Zhou.

Separate passages have been set up for vendors and buyers and their identities can be distinguished by the color of their vests, with red indicating vendors, blue for market staff while purchasers don yellow vests.

Xinfadi provided about 70 percent of Beijing's vegetables, 10 percent of its pork, and 3 percent of its beef and mutton before being shut down on June 13.

A 1,000-square-meter retail vegetable market has been set up outside the wholesale market to meet the demands of nearby residents.

Since June 11, Beijing has reported 335 confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to a cluster of infections in the Xinfadi wholesale market. By Aug. 6, all the patients had been discharged from the hospital after recovery.

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