Coronavirus found on frozen seafood packaging in China

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BEIJING: Authorities in China have found the coronavirus on the packaging of imported frozen seafood from the port city of Dalian, which recently battled a surge of cases, a local government said on Tuesday.

The virus was found on the outer packaging of frozen seafood bought by three companies in Yantai, a port city in eastern Shandong province.

The Yantai city government said in a statement the seafood was from an imported shipment that landed at Dalian but did not say where it originated.

In July, customs officers in Dalian, a major port in the north-eastern province of Liaoning, found the coronavirus in the packaging of frozen shrimps imported from Ecuador, and China then suspended imports from three Ecuadorean shrimp producers.

The coronavirus is believed to have emerged in a market that sold seafood and wildlife in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

It has since spread around the world, with some new cases brought back into China from returning travellers.

Some of the seafood that the three Yantai companies bought had been processed for export, while the rest had been kept in cold storage and has not entered the market, the Yantai government said.

When asked if any of the processed seafood had been exported, a member of the staff at a coronavirus outbreak response unit in Yantai declined to elaborate, referring Reuters to the Yantai city government statement.

Authorities had sealed off the goods, the city government said. Everyone who handled the goods was under quarantine and have tested negative for the coronavirus, it said.

The latest outbreak of coronavirus in Dalian city started in late July, with the first case working at a seafood processing company. By Aug 9, Dalian had reported a total of 92 cases.

China yesterday reported 44 cases for Aug 10, compared with 49 cases a day earlier.

Imported cases made up 31 of the infections and the other 13 were locally transmitted cases reported from Xinjiang. There were no new deaths.

China also reported 17 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 31 a day earlier.

As of August 10, China had a total of 84,712 cases. The death toll remains at 4,634. - REUTERS