China's CDC reported finding traces of coronavirus on packages of frozen food, proving the virus may be able to withstand freezing temperatures.
The coronavirus has not yet revealed all its secrets. According to Reuters, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traces of coronavirus were found on the packaging of frozen food products in the eastern port city of Qingdao.
A first in the world
This discovery was made as part of a survey conducted by health authorities to trace the origin of a COVID-19 cluster in the Bejing metropolis of more than 9 million people. This case was taken very seriously by the Chinese authorities, who faced with the few cases recorded in the city, decided to have all the city's inhabitants tested... over the course of five days.
In any case, this is a first in the world, which suggests that it would be possible for the virus to survive when it is transported over long distances via frozen products. Worse, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua, the Chinese CDC has indicated that the contamination of several Qingdao residents last year ‘proves that contact with packaging contaminated with the novel coronavirus can lead to infection.’
This is all the more worrying since an Australian study also estimated the lifespan of the coronavirus to be around one month, depending on the surfaces on which it is found.
A ‘very low’ risk for consumers
However, the agency explains that ‘the risk of frozen foods circulating on the Chinese market being contaminated with the novel coronavirus is very low,’ with figures to back it up. Despite this, measures have been taken for employees in the food processing sector, who will now have to wear special clothing, avoid direct contact with the products, and avoid touching their mouth, nose, and eyes at work.
Finally, they also have to go through a disinfection procedure upon leaving work and undergo regular COVID-19 screening tests. As for the risk of contamination of consumers, the Chinese CDC was reassuring and stated that no cases had been detected to date. The agency considers this risk to be ‘very low.’