We first reported on the Wuhan Coronavirus in January, indicating that it was thought to have come from the city’s seafood market.

Six months later, a significant outbreak of the virus in China’s capital city has resulted in shutting down Beijing’s seafood market.

The Beijing authorities shut down a major seafood and produce market and locked down several residential complexes on Saturday after 53 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the city, renewing fears that China’s grip on the pandemic is not yet secure.

Nearly everyone who tested positive had worked or shopped at the Xinfadi market, a wholesale market on the city’s south side that sells seafood, fruit and vegetables, according to the Beijing health commission.

More than 10,000 people work at the market, which supplies 90 percent of Beijing’s fruits and vegetables, according to the state media. The virus was reportedly detected on cutting boards for imported salmon there.

China is using the term “wartime measures” to describe its lockdown policy for the Fengtai district, where the market is located.

On social media, the Global Times, a nationalist tabloid run by the Chinese government, posted a video of paramilitary police officers donning face masks patrolling the market after it was closed down on Saturday.

Authorities imposed a lockdown on 11 residential compounds in the vicinity of the market, strictly prohibiting anyone from entering or leaving. Residents will have their temperatures checked and reported on a daily basis, and their food and daily necessities delivered.

Beijing also rolled out mass nucleic acid testing for the coronavirus, setting up 193 sampling booths across the city. More than 76,000 people were tested on Sunday, with 59 people testing positive, Xu said at a news conference on Monday.

Nucleic acid tests work by detecting the virus’ genetic code, and can be more effective at detecting an infection, particularly in the early stages, than tests which examine a body’s immune response, though the latter are easier to conduct.

Meanwhile, China may be playing a role in the chaotic and economic-crushing guidance from a critical American public health agency. A probe at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has resulted in 54 scientists forced to leave after they failed to disclose foreign ties while registering for grants….with a bulk of those ties to China.

The leading health agency opened investigations into nearly 200 scientists with unreported foreign ties; 93% of the undisclosed funding came from China. The NIH has, so far, removed 77 grant recipients from its databases.

The investigation was a result of the NIH’s effort to weed out foreign entities targeting researchers at the institutes to steal intellectual property and protected information.

The U.S. government has been engaged in a an active campaign to thwart the Chinese Communist Party’s infiltration of American academic circles since November 2018. During the investigation, it was revealed that 143 scientists, across 27 states, held grants worth $164 million in undisclosed funding. More than 80% of the scientists were Asian, which reflects the CCP’s active targeting of Chinese researchers.

The CCP has recruited several high-profile American professors as part of its Thousand Talents Program, which the U.S. government views as an operation whose primary goal is to obtain U.S. intellectual property.

Finally, newly-released documents from Canadian authorities reveal details about a shipment of deadly pathogens last year from the country’s National Microbiology Lab to China. The information confirms for the first time who sent the biological specimens, what exactly was shipped, and where it went.

It turns out, the pathogens (which included the Ebola virus) were sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

CBC News had already reported about the shipment of Ebola and Henipah viruses but there’s now confirmation one of the scientists escorted from the lab in Winnipeg amid an RCMP investigation last July was responsible for exporting the pathogens to the Wuhan Institute of Virology four months earlier.

Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, her husband Keding Cheng and her students from China were removed from Canada’s only level-4 lab over what’s described as a possible “policy breach.” The Public Health Agency of Canada had asked the RCMP to get involved several months earlier.

The virus shipments are not related to the outbreak of COVID-19 or research into the pandemic, Canadian officials said.

…However, experts are concerned.

“It is suspicious. It is alarming. It is potentially life-threatening,” said Amir Attaran, a law professor and epidemiologist at the University of Ottawa.

“We have a researcher who was removed by the RCMP from the highest security laboratory that Canada has for reasons that government is unwilling to disclose. The intelligence remains secret. But what we know is that before she was removed, she sent one of the deadliest viruses on Earth, and multiple varieties of it to maximize the genetic diversity and maximize what experimenters in China could do with it, to a laboratory in China that does dangerous gain of function experiments. And that has links to the Chinese military.”

 

 
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