China says no evidence proving people can catch coronavirus from food
China’s coronavirus experts claim people won’t contract COVID-19 from eating food – but warn the epidemic could last until next year
- China’s CDC said no evidence showed people could be infected through eating
- Fears over contaminated meat have escalated following Beijing’s new outbreak
- Another top medical advisor warned the epidemic could still exist next spring
- Officials must continue to impose harsh measures, Prof Zhong Nanshan urged
- Beijing city has recorded 249 COVID-19 infections linked to a seafood market
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
No evidence has suggested that people could be infected with the coronavirus from eating food, a senior Chinese medical expert claimed.
Feng Zijian, deputy chief of China’s CDC, advised citizens ‘not worry too much about food safety issues caused by the coronavirus’ in an interview with the state broadcaster CCTV on Monday.
In a separate interview, the country’s top coronavirus advisor Prof Zhong Nanshan warned that the epidemic could last until next spring as he urged officials to carry on imposing harsh measures when necessary.
No evidence has been found to suggest that people could be infected with the coronavirus from eating food, Beijing’s top medical expert has claimed. This picture taken on June 22 shows a meat vendor at a wet market in Guangzhou, Guangdong province of southern China
Chinese epidemic control workers put on protective suits as they prepare for a shift performing nucleic acid swab tests for COVID-19 on citizens at a Beijing testing site on June 22
A new COVID-19 outbreak erupting the Chinese capital has stoked public fears of contaminated meat after the cluster is linked to a sprawling wholesale food market. Pictured, a health worker collects swab samples from a woman at a testing site in Beijing city on Monday
The officials’ remarks come as a new COVID-19 outbreak erupting the Chinese capital has stoked public fears of a second wave after a cluster was linked to a sprawling seafood market.
China has also stepped up its oversight of imported foods after Beijing’s fresh coronavirus crisis has infected 249 people after breaking out on June 11.
But CDC’s leader Mr Feng reassured the public by saying no proof showed that people could catch the disease from consuming food.
He told state media CCTV: ‘As of now, the virus has been spreading globally for almost half of a year.
‘While it’s been spreading worldwide, [we] have not found that this virus can be contracted by eating food.
‘There is no need to worry too much about food safety issues caused by the coronavirus,’ Mr Feng added.
The official’s interview comes after Beijing began testing meat, seafood and fresh produce for the coronavirus last week following the new infection cluster in the city.
China has stepped up its oversight of imported foods after Beijing’s fresh coronavirus crisis that broke out on June 11 and has infected 249 people. A group of people is pictured waiting in a line wearing protective masks at a COVID-19 nucleic acid testing station in Beijing on June 23
This picture taken on June 18 shows two volunteers from the Blue Sky Rescue team, in protective suits, disinfecting the Nangong market amid a new COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing
The official’s interview comes after Beijing began testing meat, seafood and fresh produce for the coronavirus last week following the new infection cluster in the city. People in lockdown wait behind a barrier for their goods to be delivered to the residential compound in Beijing
The epidemic could last until next year, top advisor warns
China’s top coronavirus expert has claimed that the epidemic could last until next spring.
Dr Zhong Nanshan, who has been leading the nation’s efforts to fight the disease, urged authorities to continue imposing harsh measures to curb the spread of the disease.
The senior epidemiologist said that the virus would not ‘disappear’ this winter or next spring.
‘[The epidemic] should continue to exist or ramp up when the winter and spring come,’ he predicted in an interview with Guangdong TV Station.
But he played down the possibility of another major outbreak like the one that hit Wuhan.
He said: ‘Although the source of the outbreak in Beijing this time is still unclear, it is clearer than that of Wuhan.
‘A vital thing is that China can track [patients] and carry out short-term measures such as the closure of schools and universities as well as the reduction of flights. [These measures] are necessary.’
Prof Zhong said harsh measures like those could help prevent the spread of the virus.
The Chinese government Thursday shared the genome data from the latest outbreak, claiming it ‘came from Europe’ but is different from the virus that is currently spreading there – suggesting it could have been lurking in frozen food for some time.
Zhang Yong of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the strain of the virus spreading in Beijing ‘is older than the virus currently circulating in Europe’.
Zhang raised the possibility of the virus lurking in imported frozen food or in the wholesale market itself, resulting in similarities to older strains.
But scientists cautioned against making early conclusions on the Beijing cluster.
European salmon producers played down the link after state media connected the outbreak to chopping boards used to cut up salmon at the Xinfadi food market.
China’s customs authority said on Sunday it had suspended imports of poultry products from a plant owned by US-based meat processor Tyson Inc that has been hit by the disease.
China also suspended pork products from Germany-based pork processor Toennies last week following a local outbreak among hundreds of its workers.
PepsiCo China said on Sunday that operations at one of its food processing plants in Beijing had been suspended after at least one employee tested positive for the coronavirus, in the latest outbreak of COVID-19 virus in the capital.
Production at the factory in the Daxing district was halted as soon as the first coronavirus case was confirmed on June 15, said Fan Zhimin, PepsiCo China director of corporate affairs.
Lay’s, which is owned by PepsiCo, said in a social media post that the affected food-processing plant produced a small quantity of its potato chips. It said the chance of any virus surviving during food processing was very low.
Beijing today has reported 13 native infections, bringing the tally of the capital city’s COVID-19 outbreak to 249. People are picture being tested for coronavirus by medical workers wearing hazmat suits at a makeshift testing centre in Beijing on June 18 following the city’s outbreak
Nearly three million residents across the city have received nucleic acid tests since June 12. Neighbourhoods have been locked down and schools closed as authorities battle to contain the cluster. Pictured, a hazmat-clad worker disinfecting a residential compound in Beijing
Beijing today has reported 13 native infections, bringing the tally of the capital city’s COVID-19 outbreak to 249.
Nearly three million residents across the city have received nucleic acid tests since June 12. Neighbourhoods have been locked down and schools closed as authorities battle to contain the cluster.
Nationwide, China has recorded a total of 83,418 confirmed cases, of which 359 are active. Its death count remains at 4,634.
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