China suspends import of 2 Ecuadorian firms over Covid-19 remains
Beijing, Aug 4 (EFE).- Chinese customs authorities temporarily suspended imports of the products of two Ecuadorian companies Wednesday after detecting traces of coronavirus through nucleic acid tests in the packages of their frozen products.
According to Chinese customs, remains of Covid-19 were found in four samples of three batches of frozen shrimp from Ecuador and exported to China by the companies Proexpo and Expalsa.
As a preventive measure, Chinese authorities will not accept export applications from these companies for one and two weeks, respectively.
In the same announcement, similar measures were reported against a Mauritanian company after customs found traces of the virus in its packages of frozen sea snail meat.
In July 2020, traces of coronavirus were discovered for the first time in the packaging of Ecuadorian white shrimp from three companies in the country.
Chinese customs also detected coronavirus traces in the last year in refrigerated or frozen products from countries such as Germany, Russia, the Netherlands, Brazil or Argentina, which led Beijing to tighten regulations for the import of frozen products. They demanded mandatory tests for products brought from countries where the pandemic is still raging.
Chinese authorities blamed this transmission route – not detected so far in other countries – for small outbreaks in port cities such as Qingdao.
The country’s official press said in late 2020 that the initial outbreak of the pandemic in Wuhan, could have been related to this type of imports, although in recent months the theory seemed to have lost strength in state media publications.
In recent days, China has registered an outbreak classified by the Global Times as the worst since Wuhan, caused mainly by the delta variant and originating, according to official investigations, in the inadequate cleaning of an Air China plane from Russia in which an infected person had traveled.
The newspaper cited Chinese experts who said this initial contagion, registered at Nanking international airport, could also be related to imports of products stored in cold chains.
In May 2020, the World Health Organization said coronaviruses cannot survive or reproduce in frozen food, but could survive on various surfaces for various amounts of time.
“The environmental stability of (Covid-19) is up to three hours in the air post-aerosolization, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel, albeit with significantly decreased titres,” the organization said.
Infections in mainland China stood Wednesday at 1,240, 21 of which are serious, according to the latest data provided by the country’s health commission.
According to the commission, 93,289 people have been infected in the country since the beginning of the pandemic, of which 87,413 recovered and 4,636 died. EFE