The BBC’s correspondent in China has warned that the communist government may be in the midst of a second coronavirus cover up, as a massive police and medical response to a new cluster in Beijing doesn’t tally with the reported number of cases.

The Chinese government has locked down the capital city, instituted travel bans, and is rounding up residents, putting them on buses and placing them in quarantine:

The footage was shot by activist Jennifer Zeng, who claims that seven hotels in the city were requisitioned by the government to be used as quarantine sites.

However, Beijing only reported 27 new infections yesterday, and 106 in the past five days, prompting many to wonder, just what the hell is going on here.

More footage shows hundreds of people lining up outside Youan hospital in Beijing for virus screening:

Massive amounts of fruit and vegetables have been discarded after Beijing shut down Xinfadi wholesale market:

Earlier in the week huge amounts of police were deployed to the market:

The BBC’s Stephen McDonell noted that the Chinese government is either being “super cautious”, or they are again not giving accurate figures on the new infection rate.

Stephen McDonell

@StephenMcDonell

Additional prevention measures: hundreds of thousands of people who’ve been inside the Market (plus several other smaller markets) in the Chinese capital in recent weeks are to report themselves and effectively commence home quarantine.

Stephen McDonell

@StephenMcDonell

Govt spokesman Xu Hejian described the city’s situation as “extremely severe”. That either means the relatively low infection tally doesn’t reflect the facts on the ground or they’re being super cautious, trying to mobilise the population to stop the spread

58 people are talking about this

Stephen McDonell

@StephenMcDonell

In terms of new measures: residents from “high risk” groups are not allowed to leave the city (I guess that means living near/ contact with XinFaDi Market) . Taxis and Didi cars are also not allowed to leave the city limits.

Stephen McDonell

@StephenMcDonell

Additional prevention measures: hundreds of thousands of people who’ve been inside the Market (plus several other smaller markets) in the Chinese capital in recent weeks are to report themselves and effectively commence home quarantine.

See Stephen McDonell’s other Tweets

Stephen McDonell

@StephenMcDonell

From late Tuesday night presser… Nobody to leave without a clear test in the last 7 days. (But understandably limited test spaces are being prioritised for high risk people). Residents in medium/high risk ategories linked to market no leaving at all.

Stephen McDonell

@StephenMcDonell

Practically speaking it’s now very difficult for anyone to leave . The Chinese capital is going into a prevention bubble. 1255 flights were cancelled this morning. That’s 70% of all flights in and out of .

83 people are talking about this

Stephen McDonell

@StephenMcDonell

[More from late last night presser]… all schools closed again from today. Residents in high-risk areas not allowed to leave housing compounds. All compounds/hutongs only residents allowed in. Businesses/manufacturing continuing for now but work from home encouraged.

Stephen McDonell

@StephenMcDonell

So that’s from 50+ days with zero cases in to 137 official* infections with symptoms in 6 days and the Chinese capital is now being effectively cut off from everywhere else. Four other provinces have reported cases emanating from ’s Market.

41 people are talking about this

Owners of the market that was shut down in Beijing are reportedly claiming that the ‘more infectious’ strain of the virus came from Europe via some dodgy salmon, however the Chinese Centre for Disease has said there is no evidence to support the claims.

If this fresh outbreak is ‘very severe’ as authorities are claiming, then where are the infected?

Will Europe move to block flights coming from China this time, or once again allow transmission of the virus unhindered?

One more intriguing theory of what is happening comes from professor Steve Tsang of the School of Oriental and African Studies, who has contended that China is using Covid-19 to ‘divide and conquer’ Europe.

“China is essentially trying a divide and rule approach to the EU,” Tsang told the Daily Express, adding “Some of the EU countries are being enticed to be much closer to China and to break away from European norms. And that is a serious problem.”

China has sent coronavirus aid to countries that have not received it quickly enough from the EU.

“The pandemic hasn’t helped but the problem with the pandemic is not so much in eastern European countries as it is with Italy.” Tsang added.

Since 2012, China has heavily invested in the infrastructure of 17 eastern and central European countries, including the likes of Hungary and Greece, via the Belt and Road Initiative.

Many see this as a way of exerting dominance in global trade. With the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the lax response of the EU in helping its member states, China has everything to gain.