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Global Times

COVID-19's ability to survive freezing temperature not yet known, Chinese top epidemiologist clarifies

Global Times

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/20 12:40:23

Top Chinese epidemiologist Li Lanjuan has refuted media reports, which misquoted her as saying COVID-19 can survive at -20 C for 20 years. She says the novel coronavirus is a new virus and its resistance to low temperatures is not yet known.

Li made the clarification after report went viral on China's social media platforms citing her comments at a meeting on Friday that the coronavirus is particularly cold-resistant and can survive for months at -4 C and 20 years at -20 C. The report suggested this is why the virus had been found in seafood markets, citing Li.

In an interview with domestic news portal zjol.com.cn on Saturday, Li stressed that the original article misinterpreted her comments. She told the portal her comments on the survival of viruses in freezing temperatures only applies to "general situations" and to "known viruses," not COVID-19.

Li also said she had made it clear during her speech on Friday that the novel coronavirus's low-temperature resistance needs to be further studied.

According to the zjol.com.cn report, some media outlets had misled the public by reporting Li's comments without correctly understanding them.

Reports and findings about the recent COVID-19 outbreak rebound in Beijing suggest a link to imported frozen seafood products. Chinese media reported earlier the virus had been found on a chopping board used to process imported salmon in Beijing's Xinfadi seafood market.

There were also reports saying that many of the 200 samples collected from the market tested positive for the virus.

The Chinese mainland reported that 27 new COVID-19 cases had been confirmed on Friday, with 22 of them in Beijing.

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