On Chinese social media this week, videos of medical personnel in in hazmat suits inserting cotton swabs into the mouths of fish and crabs went viral, prompting criticism that the nation’s zero-Covid policy had gone too far.
China has relied on widespread testing, lengthy quarantines, and sudden lockdowns since the pandemic to stifle any reappearance of the coronavirus. But China’s strictest anti-Covid policies have been tested by the highly contagious Omicron strain.
Authorities in the Jimei area of Xiamen ordered last month that “fishermen and their catch” should both be checked for Covid.
Covid has been spread to China, “creating tremendous social harm,” since June, the report claimed, as a result of “illegal commerce and illegal interaction” between fishermen in the Fujian province and foreign warships.
Friday saw the addition of 10 more Covid cases from Xiamen, bringing the current outbreak’s total to 65. Starting on Wednesday, the port city conducted three rounds of extensive testing for its 5 million inhabitants.
The testing requirement was introduced “to strengthen the maritime epidemic defense line and firmly restrict the import of the epidemic from the water,” according to Taihainet.com, a state-run news website in Fujian.
He suggested that they concentrate on the people rather than the fish.
Jin claims that testing the catch is “totally worthless” because there is “very little likelihood” that the fish will test positive and infect people.
“It is a hundred or a thousand times more likely that these fishermen contracted the disease from other fishermen. According to him, there is no proof that fish may spread the virus.
Chinese government representatives have in the past attributed the Covid-19 outbreaks in their nation to a number of imports, including frozen seafood, implying that people may have become ill after handling contaminated packaging.
However, the World Health Organization has insisted since 2020 that there is no proof that humans can contract Covid from eating or handling food packaging. Additionally, in January 2022, the City University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Animal Health and Welfare stated that there was “negligible” danger of contracting Covid from animals.
In the past, there have been reports of Covid tests being conducted in China on crops, cattle, fruit, and even seafood. Authorities have also put in place stringent measures to screen imported food packaging for any signs of the virus, even suspending imports from businesses that test positive and resulting in delays and backed-up ports.
The testing policy in Xiamen comes as China takes significant steps to uphold its zero-Covid stance. For example, this week, a Shanghai Ikea store was shut down after a case of Covid-19 was linked to a close contact there. Last week, an outbreak on the resort island of Hainan left more than 80,000 visitors stranded.
This report was contributed to by CNN’s Beijing bureau.
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