Beijing, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- Authorities in the southeastern Chinese city of Guangzhou are to temporarily suspend imports of frozen meat and seafood after the produce was linked to three coronavirus cases among employees at a supermarket chain in the neighboring metropolis of Shenzhen.
Officials will continue to carry out nucleic acid tests on imported goods, which must pass inspection before they can be sold, according to guidelines introduced by the Guangzhou Cold Chain Industry Association.
The association said in a statement: “It is necessary to guarantee the safety of these food products, for which reason the importation of meat and frozen seafood from countries affected by the pandemic will be suspended.”
It added that those who had come into contact with imported products should be tested for Covid-19 weekly.
According to the local Guangzhou Daily newspaper, supermarkets in the city must disinfect their premises on a regular basis.
Authorities in the province of Guangzhou have carried out almost 150,000 tests and reported three positive coronavirus results detected on the packaging of imported frozen goods.
According to The Paper, a Chinese state-affiliated media outlet, 10 samples taken from packaged goods have tested positive since July.
Mei Xinyu, a research fellow at the country’s Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation told the Global Times: “Cold chain logistics is likely to be an important channel for the spread of the virus. The low temperature and humidity provide a suitable long-term survival environment for the virus.”
“These multiple cases raised concerns about possible issues during cold chain transportation, as epidemic prevention and control methods in some foreign countries are not as strict as those in China.”
The measures come after an employee at the grocery chain Fresh Hema, which belongs to the Alibaba group, tested positive for Covid-19 in neighboring Shenzhen.