China zero-Covid: Xiamen cleans freshly caught seafood for coronavirus

China zero-Covid: Xiamen cleans freshly caught seafood for coronavirus
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Hong Kong

The Chinese coastal city of Xiamen is testing freshly caught fish, crabs and even shrimp for Covid-19, as everything else continues to contain a spiraling outbreak – a policy that has been ridiculed online and criticism of experts saying it’s a “waste of resources”.

This week, videos The insertion of cotton swabs into the mouths of fish and crabs by health workers fit for hazardous substances has gone viral on Chinese social media, prompting complaints that the country’s zero-COVID policy has gone too far.

Since the pandemic, China has relied on mass testing, extensive quarantines and sudden lockdowns to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus. But the highly contagious Omicron variant has defied China’s strictest anti-Kovid measures.

Officials in the Jimei district of Xiamen issued a statement. don’t notice last month ordered both “fishermen and their catch” to be tested for Covid.

He said “illegal trade and illegal contact” between fishermen in Fujian province and overseas vessels since June had spread Covid to China and caused “great societal damage”.

Xiamen reported 10 cases of Covid on Friday, bringing the total number in the latest outbreak to 65. The port city has launched three rounds of batch testing for its 5 million residents starting Wednesday.

Health workers in Xiamen cleaning crabs for Covid-19., a state-run news website in Fujian, reported He reported that the test requirement for both fishermen and their catch was implemented “to strengthen the maritime epidemic defense line and strictly prevent the importation of the epidemic from the sea”.

Jin Dongyan, a professor at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Biomedical Sciences, told CNN that this policy was a “waste of resources.”

“They should focus on people rather than fish,” he said.

According to Jin, testing prey is “totally useless” because the chance of the fish testing positive and transmitting the virus to humans is “very low.”

“These fishermen are 100 or 1,000 times more likely to be infected by other fishermen. There is no evidence that fish can transmit the virus,” he said.

Chinese officials have previously linked the country’s Covid-19 outbreaks to various imports, including frozen seafood, and suggested that people may become ill after handling contaminated packaging.

However, since 2020, the World Health Organization has argued that there is no evidence that people can catch Covid from food or food packaging. And in January 2022, City University of Hong Kong Animal Health and Welfare Center aforementioned The risk of COVID-19 transmission from animals was “negligible”.

Earlier, reports appeared sea ​​products, livestock, fruit and even crops are being tested for Covid in China. Authorities have also implemented stringent measures, suspending imports from companies that test the packaging of food imports for traces of the virus, even from companies that test positive, causing delays and port congestion.

Xiamen’s testing policy comes as China takes sweeping steps to maintain its zero Covid stance. lock An Ikea branch in Shanghai was traced to location and ran aground this week after close contact with a Covid-19 case More than 80,000 tourists There was an epidemic on the resort island of Hainan last week.

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