In this file:
· China facing higher transmission risk due to imported cases
· China claims it found coronavirus on beef and tripe from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and New Zealand
· China's sweeping COVID controls put frozen food importers on ice
China facing higher transmission risk due to imported cases
The Straits Times (Singapore)
Nov 13, 2020
BEIJING • China is facing an increased risk of local transmission of the coronavirus in the winter due to imported cases as the spread of the global pandemic accelerates, a senior official at the country's health authority has said.
In winter, there might be sporadic cases in some areas in China and some pocket cluster cases in others, Dr Li Bin, Vice-Minister of the National Health Commission (NHC), said at a press conference on Thursday.
"China's epidemic prevention and control work cannot be relaxed for a single moment," Dr Li said.
Countries such as India, Brazil and France are reporting tens of thousands of new infections daily.
By contrast, China has largely controlled the spread of the coronavirus since early summer, although clusters of community infections have periodically hit parts of the country, while imported cases among travellers arriving from abroad have risen.
Mr Yin Chengji, deputy commissioner of the National Immigration Administration, told reporters China has continued to halt issuing visas to some foreign nationals while restricting non-urgent outbound movements by Chinese citizens.
When asked if China would create so-called travel bubbles with countries less affected by the virus, Mr Luo Zhaohui, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, said now was not the right time.
"For closed-loop travel bubbles we do not deny this possibility, but we think the conditions are not right yet," said Mr Luo.
He also warned Chinese citizens against outbound travel.
"Our advice is do not go overseas," Mr Luo said.
In the past week, a handful of local cases linked to food imports have emerged in the northern port city of Tianjin, while an airport worker in Shanghai contracted the virus even though he has had no direct contact with infected patients.
Although the World Health Organisation says the risk of catching Covid-19 from frozen food is low, China has repeatedly sounded alarms after detecting the virus on packaging of products ranging from German pork knuckles to Ecuadorian shrimp, triggering disruptive import bans...
China claims it found coronavirus on beef and tripe from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and New Zealand
November 16th 2020
The eastern Chinese city of Jinan said it has found the new coronavirus on beef and tripe, and on packaging for these products from Brazil, New Zealand and Bolivia as China ramps up testing on frozen foods.
The importers were a unit of Guotai International Group and Shanghai Zhongli Development Trade, the Jinan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement on its website late on Saturday.
The entry ports were Shanghai's Yangshan port Customs and outer port Customs, it said. The statement from the city in Shandong province did not name the companies that shipped the products.
More than 7,500 people who may have had contact with the contaminated products and other related personnel have tested negative for the virus that causes Covid-19, it said.
Chinese authorities last week found the coronavirus on the packaging of Saudi shrimp in Lanzhou city, Brazilian beef in Wuhan city and Argentine beef in Shandong and Jiangsu provinces. China is the world's top beef buyer and Brazil and Argentina its largest suppliers.
Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province in central China, detected coronavirus on the outer packaging of frozen pork from Argentina on Friday, local authorities said in a statement late on Saturday on the social media platform WeChat.
The samples that tested positive came from a 24-ton batch of frozen pork...
China's sweeping COVID controls put frozen food importers on ice
By Cate Cadell, Reuters
November 13, 2020
BEIJING (Reuters) - The WHO says the risk of catching COVID-19 from frozen food is low, but China has repeatedly sounded alarms after detecting the virus on packaging of products ranging from German pork knuckles to Ecuadorian shrimp, triggering disruptive import bans.
China, which has used drastic measures to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, this week tightened restrictions requiring “full coverage” testing and disinfection of imported food products, following a smattering of positive samples detected on beef, pork and seafood.
The country has suspended imports of 99 suppliers from 20 countries, the National Health Commission said on Thursday.
Beijing argues that such measures are needed prevent the import of the virus, which has been largely contained domestically. A seafood market in the central city of Wuhan is widely believed to be the origin of the pandemic that emerged late last year and has now killed more than 1.25 million people.
The clampdown has caused upheaval in parts of China’s cold chain logistics network and sparked grumbling among diplomats in Beijing that the effort is politically driven, with critics saying the measures are costly and unnecessary.
Last week, cold chain facilities in the northern port city of Tianjin were shuttered when a 38-year-old frozen food worker who tested positive for the virus was linked to a 28.1 tonne shipment of frozen German pork knuckles.
“We can’t import any seafood as our warehouses have not finished rectification work yet,” said an importer in Henan province who manages logistics for imported seafood and fruit.
“It started in October and it has been over a month now and I don’t expect it would be finished by the end of the year,” said the importer, asking not to be identified.
While scientists say that chances of infection from frozen food are low, Chinese authorities say two dock workers in Qingdao caught the virus last month from the packaging of frozen cod - an assertion that some experts have questioned.
‘COMPLETE ELIMINATION’ ...