Daily Memo: Beijing’s New Coronavirus Outbreak

The Chinese capital is trying to contain the latest outbreak of the virus.

Beijing catches a big wave. The Chinese capital is scrambling to contain a substantial new COVID-19 outbreak involving at least 79 new cases, most of which could be traced to the city’s largest wholesale market. This is notable because Beijing had previously gone 56 consecutive days without a new domestically transmitted case, underscoring just how difficult it is to stamp out the virus completely. As we discussed regarding South Korea, though, think of it like putting out a forest fire: Periodic flare-ups will be inevitable for some time to come. What matters most is the ability of a government to respond quickly and effectively when they inevitably occur. In China, true to form, authorities are responding the best way they know how – with brute force – locking down a dozen neighborhoods, canceling schools and closing indoor tourism sites. They also appear to be implicitly trying to shift blame for the outbreak by linking it to imported salmon. There is scant evidence that the virus moves around the world on cargo, so this is dubious and speaks to the extreme political sensitivity in China about the Communist Party’s handling of the epidemic and the role of Chinese markets in its […]

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