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No panic over package positive tests

Date:2021-01-26 Clicks:62

On Sunday, a package of beer in Tianjin municipality, imported from the US, tested positive for COVID-19.

On Saturday, 70 samples of imported cherries in Shijiazhuang, capital of North China's Hebei province, tested positive, as did the surface of some cherries in Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu province.

On Jan 21, milk powder in Tianjin, imported from Ukraine, tested positive.

Before these, there were samples of packages of imported meat and shrimp that tested positive. What should be done about this trend?


According to Tan Qindong, a Beijing-based doctor who has been closely following anti-epidemic efforts, it is necessary to stay cautious about imported food, but no need to panic. When samples from objects test positive, that's different from a positive result in a human being.

If a sample from cherries tests positive, there is the possibility the COVID-19 virus is already "dead", leaving only inactivated "corpses", he said. "It could be a fragment of the virus' RNA, or a virus that has already lost activity," he said. "Low temperatures help to keep them stable, but they cannot spread anymore."

Even if there is active virus present, it will be washed away by water before people eat the cherries.

Further, even if a few viruses escape disinfection and happen to enter the human body via eating, COVID-19 viruses cannot infect human health via the alimentary canal because their proteins cannot enter human cells there. "COVID-19 virus can only touch certain cells in people's respiratory tract and infect there, because of their proteins," he added.

Yet there is a possibility of the COVID-19 virus spreading from frozen food packages to humans. Luan Rongsheng, a Sichuan-based doctor, told thepaper.cn such transmission is possible if one touches the contaminated package then touches his/her own mucous membrane, such as the eyes or mouth. But he also said that occurs mostly in cold storage warehouses — where the temperature is low enough for the virus to stay active — and the density of the virus is enough to contaminate.

On Monday, local authorities announced they had double-checked another 511 samples from cherry sellers and 3,959 more samples from other businesses in the market, and they all tested negative.

"For the public, there is no need to panic; for health authorities, there is every reason to work hard and ensure safety for all," Tan said.


From China Daily


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Address:No.28, Nanli Road, Hong-shan District, Wuchang, Wuhan, Hubei Province, P. R. China

Postcode:430068