Even live fish are tested for Covid amid new outbreak in China

Even live fish are tested for Covid amid new outbreak in China

  • Kerry Allen
  • BBC surveillance

August 18, 2022

Updated 6 hours ago

A person holds a thin cotton swab near the mouth of a silverfish

Credit, Jinan Times

caption,

Live fish tested for Covid

More than five million people have had to undergo tests for Covid19 in the coastal city of Xiamen, China, after about 40 cases of the virus were detected this week.

It wasn’t just humans being tested: an official warning says some marine life should also be included in the wave of mass testing.

In recent weeks, the Maritime Pandemic Control Committee of Jimei District in Xiamen issued a notice saying that “both the fishermen and their fish and seafood must be tested” when the boats return to ports.

The result was that amid this latest outbreak, video footage appeared on various social media platforms, including Douyin China’s local version of TikTok showing health workers performing PCR tests on live fish and crabs.

“It’s not the only place that does that”

While this may seem unusual, it’s not the first time live fish have been tested for Covid19.

An official with Xiamen City’s Ocean Development Bureau told the South China Morning Post that the government has learned “many lessons” from Hainan which is experiencing a severe outbreak of the disease.

The server indicated that the outbreak in that province may have been sparked by the buying and selling of seafood and fish between local fishermen and their overseas counterparts.

South China’s Hainan province, a coastal region like Xiamen, has reported more than 10,000 cases of Covid19 since early August, and officials said they believe this outbreak is likely linked to the fishing community.

Chinese media have long raised concerns that marine life may have links to the coronavirus. The first outbreak of Covid19 has been traced to a live animal and seafood market in the city of Wuhan.

Credit, iPanda

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Even pandas have been tested for Covid19

While seafood is unlikely to be a host for the virus, many of the outbreaks in China are linked to dock workers, people handling frozen produce, or fish market workers.

In June 2020, such an outbreak sparked panic in Beijing. State media said the Covid19 virus was detected on boards used to cut imported salmon. Not only has this prompted restaurants and supermarkets to take salmon off their shelves, it has also stopped importing it.

Panic spread across the country, with widespread fear of eating the fish.

Fish aren’t the only animals tested for Covid19 during China’s efforts to eliminate the virus over the past two years.

In May, official media released footage of a hippo being tested at a wildlife sanctuary in Huzhou, east Zhejiang, saying it was necessary to test the animal twice a week.

There are also videos on Chinese social media showing dogs, cats, chickens and even pandas performing PCRtype tests.

State media say the reason for the tests is to ensure “the safety of the animals” and of visitors to the places where the animals live.

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