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Iran Press TV

China finds coronavirus on inner packaging of shrimp imported from Saudi Arabia

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 14 November 2020 4:20 PM

China says it has detected the new coronavirus on the inner packaging of a batch of shrimp imported from Saudi Arabia, as it steps up testing of frozen foods to completely eliminate the epidemic in the mainland.

China imposed restrictions this week that required "full coverage" testing and disinfection of imported foods.

Authorities in the western city of Lanzhou said on Saturday that one positive sample had been found on the inner packaging of imported frozen shrimp from Saudi Arabia on Friday.

The Lanzhou Municipal Health Commission said the batch had entered the country in October and reached Lanzhou earlier this month.

The cold storage plant in the city where the case was discovered was temporarily closed, according to the commission. It said all employees of the plant had been tested, all food involved had been sealed, and the whereabouts of all food sold had been tracked.

This came after officials in Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first reported last year, detected the pathogen on the packaging of a batch of Brazilian beef on Friday.

Positive samples were also found on Argentinian beef in Shandong and Jiangsu provinces this week.

China has repeatedly warned that coronavirus-contaminated frozen food can cause infection, doubling down on efforts to prevent such a spread of the virus.

But the World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is "highly unlikely" for people to contract COVID-19 from food or food packaging. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also says the risk is "thought to be very low."

Chinese health officials, however, said positive cases of COVID-19 had been reported among dock workers in Qingdao last month. They said that the packaging of frozen cod had infected the workers.

Beijing says it has detected traces of the virus on a slew of imported frozen food products or their packaging over the past five months.

Among the contaminated products were shrimp from Ecuador, squid from Russia, fish from Norway and Indonesia, and beef and chicken wings from Brazil.

China put a halt on imports of 99 suppliers from 20 countries, the National Health Commission said on Thursday.

The coronavirus has so far infected over 53.5 million people and killed 1.3 million others across the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

China, which has relatively brought the epidemic under control, has had a total number of 91,807 confirmed cases of the disease and 4,742 related deaths.

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