• By The Financial District


China's disease control authority said that contact with frozen food packaging contaminated by living new coronavirus could cause infection, Nikkei Asian Review said. 

The conclusion came as the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) detected and isolated living coronavirus on the outer packaging of frozen cod during efforts to trace the virus in an outbreak reported last week in the city of Qingdao, the agency also told Reuters

A world first, the finding suggests it is possible for the virus to be conveyed over long distances via frozen goods, it said. Two dock workers in Qingdao who were initially diagnosed as asymptomatic infections in September brought the virus to a chest hospital during quarantine due to insufficient disinfection and protection, leading to another 12 infections linked to the hospital, authorities said last week. 

However, the CDC's latest statement does not show solid proof that the two workers in Qingdao caught the virus from the packaging directly, rather than contracting the virus from somewhere else and then contaminating the food packaging they handled, said Jin Dong-Yan, a virology professor at the University of Hong Kong. The CDC said no instance had been found of any consumer contracting the virus by having contact with frozen food and the risk of this happening remained very low. What the agency report wishes to convey, critics said, is the narrative that China is now free of COVID-19 infection and any case reported should have come from abroad, which is false. Last month, China also reported COVID virus traces in packages of ribbon fish imported from Indonesia and Russia.