Now China is beginning to swab FISH: Officials eager to enforce the country’s zero-Covid policy are testing the daily catch for fear of contact with overseas vessels
- Video shows Chinese Covid-19 hazmat suits vigorously dabbing fish in Xiamen
- China said fishermen engaged in illegal trade with overseas vessels at sea
- China has imposed a series of strict measures to enforce its “zero Covid” policy
Something is rotten in the Chinese port city of Xiamen.
China’s zero-Covid policy was already strict, but now authorities are tightening the net and screening the day’s catch for Covid-19.
The video shows Chinese Covid-19 hazmat suits vigorously dabbing fish before they are allowed to be sold in the market.
City authorities said it was necessary to test returning workers before they returned to port – allegedly because some fishermen at sea had made illegal deals with overseas vessels.
Crabs and shrimp are also tested for traces of the virus, as pictures show.
Fish are swabbed for Covid-19 in Xiamen as China tightens its ‘zero corvids’ policy
The fisherman’s ‘materials’ are pictured being swabbed for Covid. The government said the Omicron subvariant was imported via seafood transactions between local and foreign fishermen on Aug. 4, sparking seafood fears
But it also included their “materials” in the testing requirements, leaving Chinese authorities with a slippery situation.
“Currently, all people in Xiamen city need to be tested for nucleic acids, and fish catches also need to be tested,” an official with the Xiamen City Marine Development Bureau told local media, according to The Guardian.
Online tracking dogs have suggested fish without lungs may struggle to catch Covid – but that hasn’t stopped China from testing them.
The nearby island province of Hainan is witnessing a major outbreak, authorities say, and so they are trying to stop the spread of Covid offshore.
New infections were detected in Sanya, a city in the province famous for its seaside resorts, in early August and have since spread across the island.
The provincial government said the Omicron subvariant was imported on Aug. 4 via seafood transactions between local and overseas fishermen, sparking seafood fears.
A third fish is pictured. City authorities said it was necessary to test returning workers before they returned to port – allegedly because some fishermen at sea had made illegal deals with overseas vessels
Footage showed a fourth fish being forced to test for the virus. PCR testing has been performed on a variety of animals, including chickens and cats across China
“Currently, all people in Xiamen city need a nucleic acid test, and fish catches also need to be tested,” said a staffer at the China office
“This is so disturbing I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” said Twitter user Neysun Mahboubi.
Another user joked that they are “tested for fish pox.”
“A Covid-19 positive fish is the excuse for China to close the Taiwan Strait and the South Seas,” said another.
China has had a series of lockdowns to enforce its “zero Covid” policy since the first handful of cases were identified at Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
PCR tests have been carried out on a variety of animals including chickens and cats across China, the South China Morning Post reported.
There have not yet been any confirmed reports of fish testing positive for Covid-19 in China or elsewhere.
CAN FISH CATCH COVID-19?
Animals that scientists suspect may act as vectors for the virus, such as bats or pangolins, are all members of the mammalian family.
The Center for Disease Control Prevention says, “We know that invertebrates, birds, reptiles and amphibians are not susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2.”
But unfortunately there is no mention of fish.
Research funded by the Institute for Marine Research suggests fish may be too cold for the virus to mutate, for the same reason Covid-19 has not been identified in other cold-blooded animals.
But Covid can spread in water, so fish could potentially be exposed to the virus – if they can’t catch it themselves.
However, the latest research suggests that the coronavirus will die off on most surfaces within a day.