Otago Daily Times
Frozen food packaging contaminated by virus — China
BEIJING: China’s disease control authority said on Saturday that contact with frozen food packaging contaminated by living new coronavirus could cause infection.
The conclusion came as the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention detected and isolated living coronavirus on the outer packaging of frozen cod during efforts to trace the virus in an outbreak reported last week in the city of Qingdao, the agency said on its website.
The finding, a world first, suggested it was possible for the virus to be conveyed over long distances via frozen goods, it said.
Two dock workers in Qingdao who were initially diagnosed as asymptomatic infections in September brought the virus to a chest hospital during quarantine due to insufficient disinfection and protection, leading to another 12 infections linked to the hospital, authorities said last week.
However, the CDC’s latest statement did not show solid proof that the two workers in Qingdao caught the virus from the packaging directly, rather than contracting the virus from somewhere else and then contaminating the food packaging they handled, virology professor at the University of Hong Kong Jin DongYan said.
The CDC said no instance had been found of any consumer contracting the virus by having contact with frozen food and the risk of this happening remained very low. — Reuters