Chinese officials on Tuesday warned that the coronavirus situation in Beijing is “extremely severe”, as 27 new infections were reported from Beijing where a new cluster has sparked a huge trace-and-test programme.

The COVID-19 resurgence — believed to have started at the sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market in the capital — has sparked alarm as China had largely brought its outbreak under control through mass testing and lockdowns imposed earlier in the year.

The new cases took the number of confirmed infections in Beijing over the past five days to 106, as authorities locked down almost 30 communities in the city and tested tens of thousands of people.

During a press conference, Beijing city spokesman Xu Hejian warned,”The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe”.

The World Health Organization had already expressed concern about the cluster, pointing to Beijing’s size and connectivity.

Officials have also said that they will test stall owners and managers at all of the city’s food markets, restaurants and government canteens.

Beijing’s coronavirus testing capacity has been expanded to 90,000 a day, according to China’s official news agency Xinhua.

On Tuesday, the National Health Commission (NHC) of China has said that 40 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the country.

Eight of the cases were detected in travellers returning from overseas while 32 were locally transmitted, Efe news quoted the Commission as saying.

Earlier on Monday, Beijing municipal government announced that the city was in “war-time mode” to tackle this new outbreak, which has resulted in 106 confirmed cases since June 11.

On June 14, 76,499 people were tested, 59 of whom tested positive for coronavirus, Gao Xiaojun, spokesperson for the Beijing Health Commission.

The total active cases in China stands at 210 with five of them in critical condition.

The country has reported a total of 83,221 cases, with 4,634 deaths.

The fresh asymptomatic cases – which China does not count as confirmed cases – stood at six, two of them imported.

On Sunday, officials had warned that since May 30, 200,000 people had visited the Xinfadi market — the original site of the new outbreak.

Until this recent outbreak, most of China’s cases in recent months were nationals returning home as the pandemic spread to other countries.

Meanwhile, global cases surpassed 8 million, while over 4.36 people have succumbed to the infection.

While European borders reopened, China is scrambling to control the spread of a fresh outbreak of coronavirus in Beijing, amid fears of a second wave of the infection in the country.

(With inputs from agency)