China increases efforts to block COVID-19 through imported foods

Updated: Nov 17, 2020 Xinhua Print
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BEIJING — The Ministry of Transport has released a guideline to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 through imported cold-chain foods in road and water transportation.

It urged all companies, docks, and freight terminals involved in cold-chain logistics to protect their front line employees, stressing protective equipment distribution, temperature checks, and regular nucleic acid testing.

Stricter disinfection measures should apply to transportation, with transportation equipment for imported cold-chain foods, including vehicles, vessels, and containers to be disinfected regularly, according to the guideline.

The guideline also called for an information registration system to track and trace people, cargos, and vehicles more effectively.

More efforts should go into emergency handling, the guideline said, adding that immediate actions must follow to cut off the routes of transmission if any imported food or packaging test positive for coronavirus.

Risks of COVID-19 contamination through imported cold-chain foods are mounting in China. On Nov 15, a packaging sample of imported frozen aquatic products and one from imported frozen pork were reported to be tested positive for COVID-19 in East China's Shandong province and Northwest China's Shaanxi province, respectively.

To minimize importation risks, related government departments of the country have rolled out measures to strengthen epidemic prevention and control.

The State Council joint prevention and control mechanism against COVID-19 has unveiled a plan to realize full-chain, closed-loop, traceable management of imported cold-chain foods. They vowed to conduct complete disinfection of those products, novel coronavirus tests at the ports, and ensure all imported cold-chain foods entering the market are traceable.

Also, Chinese customs have suspended the import of products of 99 cold-chain food manufacturers from 20 countries that reported cluster COVID-19 infections among employees, according to the General Administration of Customs.

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