Live coronavirus found on frozen food packaging in China

Experts from the Chinese center for disease control and prevention found the live COVID-19 virus on the packaging of frozen seafood for the first time in the world, the center said.

Experts extracted the live virus from a positive sample taken from the outer packaging of imported frozen cod during an epidemiological investigation into the causes of the coronavirus outbreak in Qingdao.

“This is the world’s first case of extracting a live virus from a positive sample taken from the packaging of frozen products, in addition, it confirmed that contact with a live virus on the packaging can lead to infection,” the center said in a statement on its website.

The Agency explained that this is the first time outside the laboratory it was proved that under special conditions of transportation of frozen products, the SARS-CoV-2 virus can survive on the packaging for a long time.

Under certain conditions, unprotected contact with a product surface that contains a live virus can lead to infection. The risk group is employees who come into contact with frozen products.
At the same time, the center noted a low risk of infection in this way, since previously Chinese specialists have never been able to extract a live virus from positive samples taken from packages of frozen products.

“Currently available research suggests that COVID-19 is not a virus that is transmitted through food, there are no cases of infection through food consumption. As of today, there have also been no cases of infection through contact with frozen seafood, on which the virus was detected,” the center noted, emphasizing that the main transmission routes are still airborne and close contact.

The center for disease prevention recommended that at-risk workers increase their personal protective measures when coming into contact with frozen food.

Earlier it was reported that the authorities of the city of Qingdao in the Eastern province of Shandong tested the entire population for coronavirus in five days after a small cluster outbreak of COVID-19 was detected in the city, no new cases of infection were detected.