coronavirus could cause infection, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Saturday. China had in September of this year suspended frozen food imports from 56 companies from 19 countries where staff members were diagnosed with Covid-19.
The statement on Saturday comes after the Chinese disease control authority detected and isolated living coronavirus on the outer packaging of frozen cod. This discovery was made during the Chinese CDC’s efforts to trace the virus in Qingdao city which reported an outbreak of Covid-19 last week.
According to a report by Reuters, this is the first instance where a public authority has acknowledged that living coronavirus can be transmitted over long distances via frozen food. Prior to this recent statement, the CDC had detected genetic traces of Covid-19 in some samples taken from frozen food packaging.
However, the amount of virus found in these samples was very low and no living coronavirus was isolated at the time.
In the statement posted on its website, the Chinese CDC said two dock workers in Qingdao were diagnosed with Covid-19 in September. Asymptomatic, they were not quarantined and infected at least 12 other people at a chest hospital in the city. These workers handled frozen food packaging.
The Chinese CDC, however, has made no comment about whether the dock workers were directly infected from the frozen food packaging or contracted Covid-19 from somewhere else and contaminated the food packaging later. In its statement, the disease control authority said it has not detected any instance where a consumer might have been infected with Covid-19 after coming in contact with contaminated frozen food packaging.
The chances of this happening are very low, the Chinese CDC went on to add as per news agency Reuters. It has, however, advised workers who handle frozen food packaging to observe stringent precautions.