Claims it might have been caused by imports or packaging of salmon have been described as a “hypothesis”.
The origins of a new cluster of Covid-19 infections in Beijing are uncertain, WHO officials said on Monday.
The origins of a new cluster of Covid-19 infections in Beijing are uncertain, WHO officials said on Monday. One hypothesis has suggested it may have been caused by imports of salmon
China’s Vice Premier Sun Chunlan has called on officials to take “decisive measures” to prevent it spreading further.
A new coronavirus outbreak in China has been described as a “significant event” by the World Health Organisation.
Local media reports earlier claimed the virus was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at the city’s Xinfadi market.
Chinese authorities have confirmed a spike of 79 coronavirus cases over four days in Beijing.
Chu Junwei, an official of Beijing’s southwestern Fengtai district, told members of the public the area is in “wartime emergency mode”, The Sun earlier reported.
It was afterwards placed on lockdown and restrictions were imposed on 11 other nearby neighbourhoods.
Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies programme, said: “In China, when you spend over 50 days without having any significant local transmission the cluster like this is a concern, and it needs to be investigated and controlled.
Norwegian fish companies have since suspended salmon sales to China.
“In that sense, it is big news. Within the grand scheme of things around the number of cases per day around the world, it’s not, but it is significant event.
“But what we do like to see is an immediate response to that and comprehensive set of measures.”
But a Norway Royal Salmon has also paused sales.
Regin Jacobsen, chief executive of salmon supplier Bakkafrost, said: “We can’t send any salmon to China now, the market is closed.”
“On the other side, food safety bodies have been adamant about the risks of coronavirus and seafood in general, in terms of them not being connected.”
A Norway Seafood Council spokesman said: “We have seen no official statements saying what was the route of the coronavirus.