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Friday Nov 13 2020
Web Desk

China detects coronavirus on frozen food packaging, suspends import from Indian company

Web Desk
A Reuters file image of seafood. 

China suspended seafood import from an Indian company after authorities detected coronavirus on the outer packaging of some samples of a frozen cuttlefish, Global Times reported.

The decision was taken by China's General Administration of Customs amid concerns from Chinese people over a surge in imported infections and a winter 'twindemic' onslaught.

On November 2, Central China's Wuhan city confirmed 23 coronavirus cases imported from India - four confirmed and 19 asymptomatic patients - all of whom were Indian nationals on the same flight from New Delhi to Wuhan.

Read more: Delhi's coronavirus cases, deaths rise by a record high

The deadly virus was also found on the packaging of imported beef and pork recently. On Friday, Liangshan county in East China's Shandong province reported that one batch of frozen beef imported from another Chinese city tested positive for COVID-19.

Addressing a press conference, General Administration of Customs' Head of Import and Export Safety Bureau Bi Kexin said the control and management of resources will be strengthened. "Chinese customs will further enhance inspection of cold-chain imported foods in a bid to prevent the risk of imported coronavirus infections," he said.

Bi said around "140 cold-chain food producers from 50 countries had been inspected and products of 22 companies have been dealt with regarding unqualified products".

Over 25 coronavirus cases have been detected in imported food cold chains since July when the first case emerged from most major frozen food-exporting countries including Russia, Indonesia, and Brazil.

Global Times reported that a wholesale market was shut down in Tianjin, a city neighbouring Beijing and Hebei after COVID-19 was detected on its imported cold-chain products for two consecutive days.

"A Tianjin worker in the cold chain industry was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 this week," said the publication. "Two Chinese cities have been involved in Tianjin's cases as some batches of frozen goods sold in these cities were delivered from Tianjin."

An analysis of the strain showed that the virus belongs to the L genotype from Europe, similar to the confirmed cases in Beijing's Xinfadi market and Hebei province from June to July.

On Thursday, China's Deputy Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui the country would face a tough challenge this winter. He said as of now, China had recorded 3,600 imported cases and the number was rapidly increasing since October.