China’s health authority has confirmed the detection and isolation of live novel coronavirus on the outer packaging of imported frozen sea fish in the port city of Qingdao.
It is the first time in the world that live novel coronavirus has been isolated from the outer packaging of cold chain food, the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Saturday.
Authorities in Qingdao, where a new group of COVID-19 cases were recently reported, carried out tests on the entire population of approximately 11 million people. No new case groups were found after the tests, the local authorities said.
In July, China stopped imports of frozen shrimp after the deadly virus was found on packaging and the inside wall of a container.
The CDC said it discovered and isolated the live virus on the outer packaging of imported frozen cod in Qingdao.
The finding was made during an investigation to determine the source of the most recent infections reported in the city. It has been shown that contact with packaging contaminated with live novel coronaviruses can lead to infection, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the CDC’s statement.
However, the statement did not mention the country from which the package was imported.
The agency said the risk of cold chain food circulating in the Chinese market being contaminated by the novel coronavirus is very small, citing recent results of nucleic acid tests on samples from the store.
As of September 15, a total of 2.98 million samples had been tested in the country’s 24 regions, including 670,000 from cold chain foods or food packaging, 1.24 million from workers and 1.07 million from the environment.
Only 22 samples from cold chain foods or food packaging tested positive for the virus, according to the CDC.
Meanwhile, the National Health Commission announced on Sunday that 13 confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported on Saturday, all of which came from outside the mainland. There was no new locally transmitted COVID-19 case, it said.
Of the cases imported, five were reported in Shanghai, four in Guangdong, two in Shaanxi and one each in Tianjin and Sichuan.
As of Saturday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the mainland reached 85,672.
A total of 80,786 patients were discharged after recovery, while the death toll stood at 4,634, the commission said.