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Concerns over COVID-tainted fruit imports lead China to impose quarantine measures

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Jan 06, 2022 12:21 pm

China has imposed quarantine measures on some of its cities following concerns that some imported fruits from Southeast Asia reportedly tested positive for traces of COVID-19.

The World Health Organization has stated that there is currently no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from food or food packaging. But the South China Morning Post reported that at least nine cities in China’s eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangxi have reportedly found coronavirus results on dragon fruit from Vietnam as well as longan fruit from Thailand.

Due to this, a number of supermarkets were temporarily shut down, and tighter screening controls were imposed on markets selling dragon fruits.

Despite no previous cases, China has not ruled out the possibility of COVID transmission through food, with imported produce being subjected to stringent border testing.

China, which is preparing to host the Beijing Winter Olympics starting in February, has been on high alert in stamping out traces of the coronavirus.

The city of Zhengzhou in east-central China’s Henan province has ordered its nearly 13 million residents to take COVID-19 tests early January after a handful of cases were detected.

Everyone in Zhengzhou, which has been placed under a partial lockdown, must be tested to "thoroughly uncover infections hidden among the public", the city's government said in a statement Wednesday.

The city has detected 11 cases in recent days.

The mass-testing order came as case numbers in the locked-down city of Xi'an fell to their lowest in weeks, with officials saying that the outbreak had been "brought under control".

Xi'an's 13 million residents have been under stay-at-home orders for the last fortnight. 

"Although the case number has been high for many days, the rapid rise in Covid spread at community level has been brought under control compared with the early stages of the outbreak," said Ma Guanghui, deputy director of Shaanxi province's health commission, at a press conference.

"The epidemic is showing a downward trend."

China has stuck to a rigid approach of stamping out Covid cases when they appear, with tight border restrictions and targeted lockdowns since the virus first emerged in the country in 2019. (with a report from AFP)