Beijing orders importers to avoid countries with coronavirus outbreaks

Beijing orders Chinese importers to avoid frozen food from countries with major coronavirus outbreaks

  • Officials claimed they had repeatedly detected the virus in imported frozen food 
  • They called on importers to shun products from coronavirus-ravaged countries
  • China has suspended imports from at least 17 nations and regions, reports say
  • Fears arise that contaminated food could cause new outbreaks in the country 

China has called on importers to shun frozen food from countries suffering from severe coronavirus outbreaks after several cases of imported seafood products testing positive for the virus.

‘Customs and local governments have repeatedly detected the coronavirus in imported cold chain food, proving it risks contamination,’ the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau said on Monday in a statement issued to import companies.

The bureau urged them to closely monitor the overseas pandemic situation and ‘proactively avoid importing cold chain food from areas heavily hit by the coronavirus’ and make alternative plans for imports.

China has called on importers to shun frozen food from countries suffering from severe coronavirus outbreaks after several cases of imported seafood products testing positive for the virus. The file photo shows a woman looking at frozen food products in Beijing

China had reported no local infections of the coronavirus for more than a month but recently detected it on the packaging of imported aquatic products in Jilin province and Qingdao city. The picture taken on June 16 shows frozen seafood products at a supermarket in Beijing

China had reported no local infections of the coronavirus for more than a month but recently detected it on the packaging of imported aquatic products in Jilin province and Qingdao city.

Last week, Qingdao, a major port city in east China, scrambled to quarantine over 300 residents after two handlers working for a seafood importer tested positive for the coronavirus, sparking fears of a looming new COVID-19 outbreak in the country.  

China has stepped up checks on frozen food imports, despite the World Health Organization had said it saw no evidence of COVID-19 being spread by food or packaging. 

It has previously banned imports of products including frozen meat, Ecuadorian shrimps and Brazilian chicken wings following positive tests. 

In this file photo, a worker of Nanming district’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention collects a swab from frozen fish at Wandong market in Guiyang, Guizhou province on July 1

Fears have arisen that contaminated food shipments could cause new outbreaks in the country as officials have warned the public about the infection risks from imported meat and seafood. The file photo shows people shopping at a wet market in Hong Kong on September 26

Fears have also arisen that contaminated food shipments could cause new outbreaks in the country as officials have warned the public about the infection risks from imported meat and seafood. 

As of September 7, China had suspended imports from dozens of food companies across at least 19 countries and regions where workers have been infected with the contagion, according to state media. 

The first cluster of COVID-19 cases was linked to the Huanan seafood market in the city of Wuhan. 

As of September 7, China had suspended imports from dozens of food companies across at least 19 countries and regions where workers have been infected with the contagion, according to state media. A man is pictured shopping at a wet market in Hangzhou on Sunday

Initial studies suggested the virus originated in animal products on sale at the  sprawling food market. 

Heavy traces of the virus were found in the meat and seafood sections of a market in the capital Beijing that was the site of an outbreak in June. 

Li Fengqin, who heads a microbiology lab at the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment told reporters in June the possibility of contaminated frozen food causing new infections could not be ruled out.   

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