China finds heavy coronavirus traces in seafood, meat sections of Beijing food market
BEIJING (Reuters) - China has determined that the meat and seafood trading departments of Beijing's food wholesalers are heavily contaminated with the new corona virus, and suspects that the region's low temperature and high humidity may have helped, officials said on Thursday with.
Their preliminary report comes when the country's capital started a resurgence of COVID-19 cases last week in connection with the huge Xinfadi food center, which houses warehouses and trading halls on an area of almost 160 soccer fields.
The recent outbreak infected more than 100 people and raised fears of greater infection in China.
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Among the patients working in the Xinfadi market, most serve at seafood and water products stalls, followed by the beef and mutton department, and seafood market patients showed symptoms earlier than others, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese center for disease control and prevention, said at a daily briefing on Thursday.
Low temperatures, which are conducive to virus survival, and high humidity may explain why the seafood markets could lead to outbreaks based on a preliminary assessment, Wu said, warning that further investigation is needed.
China stopped importing European salmon suppliers this week, fearing it could be related to the recent outbreak in Beijing.
Health officials have also warned against eating raw salmon after the virus was discovered on imported salmon cutting boards, although the origin of the outbreak is unknown.
Low hygiene standards in the food wholesale markets and vulnerabilities in the food supply chain are urgently needed to be addressed, a leading body of the ruling Communist Party said this week.
(Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Tony Munroe, writing by Miyoung Kim; editing by Hugh Lawson)
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