WUHAN: Chinese health authorities said that two imported frozen food packaging samples have tested positive for COVID-19 in Hubei province's capital city of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus is likely to have originated in December 2019. In a statement on Sunday, the city's health commission said that the samples were taken from a batch of frozen pork imported from Brazil and a batch of frozen beef from Uruguay, reports Xinhua news agency.
Local authorities have taken emergency measures to seal the imported frozen goods and disinfect the storage facilities and the surrounding environment. The frozen pork imports consisting of 1,527 boxes and weighing 27.49 tonnes were shipped from Brazil to Shanghai on June 28. They were transported from Shanghai to Wuhan on July 27 and stored at a local cold storage on July 29.
The frozen beef contained in 1,210 boxes, weighing 26.93 tonnes, was shipped to Tianjin Municipality on March 2. It reached Wuhan on March 28.
The nucleic acid test results of 511 samples from the cold storage, 460 samples from the frozen food packaging and 524 samples from local employees were all negative.
Earlier on November 28, Wuhan's health commission had confirmed that three imported frozen food packaging samples had tested positive for COVID-19. It said that two samples were taken from frozen beef from Brazil in a refrigerated warehouse and the other one from frozen basa fish from Vietnam in another warehouse.
In a similar development on December 5, at least 43 people were placed under quarantine in Harbin, the capital city of Heilongjiang province, after a frozen-food sample tested positive for COVID-19. The same day, authorities in Yaodu district in the city of Linfen, Shanxi province, announced that the outer packaging of imported fish product from a local farm-produce market tested positive for the virus.
China has increased efforts to block COVID-19 transmission through imported foods. The Ministry of Transport had released a guideline earlier this month to prevent the transmission of the virus through imported cold-chain foods in road and water transportation.
The State Council joint prevention and control mechanism against COVID-19 has also unveiled a plan to realize full-chain, closed-loop, traceable management of imported cold-chain foods. China has so far reported 93,577 confirmed coronavirus cases and 4,746 deaths. (IANS)
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