People were prevented from leaving their homes at 11 residential estates in south Beijing’s Fengtai district after most of the cases were linked to a nearby meat market, city officials said in a press briefing.
Beijing’s first COVID-19 case in two months, announced on Thursday, had visited the Xinfadi meat market last week and had no recent travel history outside the city.
China’s domestic outbreak had been brought largely under control through vast, strict lockdowns that were imposed after the disease was first detected in the central city of Wuhan last year.
These measures had largely been lifted as the infection rate dropped, and the majority of cases reported in recent months were citizens living abroad who were tested as they returned home during the pandemic.
Among the six new domestic cases announced Saturday were three Xinfadi market workers, one market visitor, and two employees at the China Meat Research Centre, seven kilometres (four miles) away. One of the employees had visited the market last week.
Authorities closed the market, along with another seafood market visited by one of the patients, for disinfection and sample collection on Friday.
AFP reporters saw hundreds of police officers and dozens of paramilitary police deployed at the two markets. Workers were seen hauling several crates of seafood out of the Jingshen seafood market, also in the Fengtai district.
Fengtai district officials announced Saturday that the district has established a “wartime mechanism” and “field command centre” to deal with the fresh wave.
Nine nearby schools and kindergartens have been closed. On Friday, Beijing officials delayed the return of students to primary schools across the city and suspended all sporting events and group dining. Cross-provincial tour groups were suspended on Saturday.
– Mass testing –
The chairman of the Xinfadi meat wholesale market told state-run Beijing News that the virus was detected on chopping boards used to handle imported salmon, stoking fears over the hygiene of Beijing’s food supply.
Beijing’s market supervision authorities ordered a city-wide food safety inspection focusing on fresh and frozen meat, poultry, and fish in supermarkets, warehouses and catering services.
Major supermarket chains including Wumart and Carrefour removed all stocks of salmon overnight in the capital, but said supplies of other products would not be affected, Beijing Daily reported Saturday.
Some Beijing restaurants were not serving any salmon on Saturday, according to AFP reporters.
Beijing authorities also announced a mass COVID-19 testing campaign of anyone who has had “close contact” with the Xinfadi market since May 30, after they tested over 5,000 environmental samples from farmers’ markets and large supermarkets across the city on Friday. Of those, all 40 positive samples came from Xinfadi market.
Nearly 2,000 wholesale market workers in Beijing were also tested for the virus on Friday, authorities said.
Of the tests already carried out, an additional 46 market workers tested positive for the virus in throat swabs but currently show no clinical symptoms, officials said. All have been placed under strict medical observation.
All but one of them are Xinfadi market workers, and the remaining case works at a farmers’ market in the Haidian district, northwest Beijing.
The Haidian worker is a close contact of one of the confirmed cases linked to Xinfadi market.
26 Kidnapped FRSC Officials Regain Freedom – Gov. Sule
The 26 officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) kidnapped along Mararaban-Udege in Nasarawa State have regained their freedom.
Governor Abdullahi Sule disclosed this on Monday at the Government House in Lafia, the state capital.
Governor Sule said the recent release of the remaining batch of seven officials has led to the complete freedom of the FRSC operatives that were abducted last week.
Three of the officials had earlier been rescued by security personnel on September 15, a day after 10 officers of the corps were seized in an attack by suspected bandits.
“All the twenty-something officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps that were kidnapped, all of them were released yesterday.
“I want to thank all the security (agencies) and those that have worked very hard to ensure that we achieve that feat.
“I want to thank them for all the efforts they are making to ensure that Nasarawa remains safe,” the governor said.
The officials were travelling for a training programme at FRSC Academy in Udi when they were attacked by suspected bandits
Following their abduction, the police authorities in Nasarawa State announced the rescue of three operatives earlier.
The Nasarawa State Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe disclosed this to the Channels Television in an exclusive interview on September 15.
EFCC, Navy Re-Strategise Against Oil Theft
As part of efforts to stem the tide of criminal activities in the maritime sector, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Nigeria Navy have agreed to review their strategies.
This resolve was expressed on Monday, September 21, 2020 during a courtesy visit by the Zonal Head of the Lagos office of EFCC, AbdulRasheeed Bawa, to Commodore Ibrahim Aliyu Shetima, Commander, Nigeria Navy Ship, NSS BEECROFT, Apapa Lagos.
Speaking during the visit, Bawa said: “The EFCC has the mandate to prosecute arrested suspects for illegal dealings in petroleum products and other maritime-related crimes and it has lived up to its billings. We will continue to curtail the activities of the criminals in the maritime industry”.
Bawa, who conveyed the regards of the acting Chairman, Umar Mohammed, to Shetimma, acknowledged the existing cooperation and working relationship between the EFCC and the Navy.
The Lagos Zonal Head, who used the occasion to officially introduce himself to the Commander, also sought a more robust collaboration and deepening of the existing working relationship.
Bawa, who also gave an update on the progress of the cases handed over to the EFCC Lagos Zonal Office, added that “We have recorded a 90 per cent success rate in our cases in court.
“Out of the 46 cases handed over to the Commission in the course of the collaboration, 22 of them have been completed successfully, including 17 vessels and their products forfeited to the Federal Government after diligent investigation and prosecution, while 18 others are at advanced stages of prosecution in various courts”.
Bawa further expressed the readiness of the Commission to look into whatever challenges that might be hindering the speedy prosecution of suspects over illegal oil deals, adding that “the Commission would continue to strategize and be more proactive in the investigation of cases handed over to it so as to ensure that products in the vessels are evacuated promptly.”
Earlier, Shettima had expressed his gratitude over the visit, saying, “This visit could not have come at a better time. I am impressed by the progress the Commission had made so far on the prosecution of maritime-related offenders.
“We appreciate your efforts and timely intervention in the evacuation of suspects and prompt prosecution.
“Globally, maritime resources are important and Nigeria is not an exemption. We must continue to work together to protect the industry and curtail the activities of the criminals.”
President Buhari Congratulates Obaseki, Reiterates Commitment To Free, Fair Elections
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Godwin Obaseki on his re-election as governor of Edo State.
He congratulated him on Sunday in a statement signed by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, urging him to continue to show grace and humility in victory.
The President also commended the election process in the state, reiterating the government’s commitment to free and fair elections.
“My commitment to free and fair elections is firm because without free and fair elections, the foundation of our political and moral authority will be weak,” he said.
“I have consistently advocated for free and fair elections in the country because it is the bedrock of true democratic order.
“Democracy will mean nothing if the votes of the people don’t count or if their mandate is fraudulently tampered with.”
Speaking further, President Buhari also commended the people of the state, the parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly.
It was a dramatic process that saw Obaseki run a governorship race against Ize-Iyamu for a second time in four years.
Governor Obaseki and His Deputy, Philip Shaibu have been re-elected into office for another four-year tenure.
Both men faced each other in 2016, albeit with Obasek flying the flag of the APC and Ize-Iyamu flying that of the PDP.
A political rift between the governor and Oshiomhole which spiraled beyond the state to national politics, saw both men switch parties and square up against each other on platforms they once criticised.
The campaign, characterised by drama and controversy that did not spare the State House of Assembly, was tempered by the intervention of the Oba of Benin to calm fears that the poll could turn violence heightened.
A peace accord was also signed by all the candidates days before the poll as stakeholders made concerted efforts to ensure a successful poll.
Overall, most of the stakeholders rated the exercise as largely peaceful, free and fair.
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