Police wearing protective suits and masks have set up command posts around Beijing after a fresh outbreak of blood clots, raising fears of a wider, more deadly outbreak across the city.
Beijing hospitals and police have blocked off roads and ordered people to stay home. Residents described scenes reminiscent of Ebola, as health workers installed protective equipment.
Authorities made separate announcements on state-run television on Tuesday, explaining that dead pigs had been found floating in the city’s waters. The local government has said that two people in Tianjin died from flesh-eating disease while suffering fevers and diarrhea. The cause has not been determined.
A toxic stench has been reported across the city, and residents are wearing masks, hats and gowns when in public. There is concern that the infections could spread, particularly among people who have close contact with pigs.
More than 40,000 Beijing residents, including those who live in the outer parts of the city, have received medical treatment as a result of the outbreak.
China’s Central Radio did not mention whether the deaths of two people in Tianjin were related to the outbreak, in light of the closure of the city’s feed mill.
Several Chinese media sources have cited eyewitness accounts of people refusing to cooperate with the government investigation of the feed mill, which has provoked anger among those in the capital, who expressed fear that other parties might have an interest in manipulating or exacerbating the crisis.
In response to speculation that the crackdown may have been driven by “political considerations,” the public security ministry said on Wednesday that “the investigation and prevention of the illness will not be affected by party or government interests.”