China tightens measures to prevent virus spread via imported frozen food

Recent confirmed cases in China have been associated with imported frozen food. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • China is stepping up measures to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 through imported cold-chain food.

The Ministry of Transport has asked logistics firms to ensure dock workers wear masks when loading and unloading cold-chain food imports, especially from high-risk areas, its spokesman Sun Wenjian said at a news conference on Friday, adding that it is to protect frontline workers' safety.

"When carrying and moving imported cold-chain food cargo, workers are to avoid putting goods close to their faces and not touch their mouths and noses. They are forbidden to open food wrapping to prevent potential contact with the virus," he said.

The strict safety protocols are to protect frontline workers, including drivers, porters and maritime workers, who are at high risk of being exposed to coronavirus.

Logistics companies are required to record and monitor the health status of frontline workers, provide them with protective equipment, conduct regular nucleic acid tests and intensify disinfection, Mr Sun said.

Thorough disinfection is required on vehicles and ships before and after transportation, and more frequent disinfection should be carried out on surfaces such as door handles and steering wheels, he said. The interiors of vehicles, ships and containers that load imported cold-chain food must go through thorough disinfection and detailed information registration is required to trace imported cold-chain food.

Logistics companies must also register information about every step, including the source of the products, transport tools, drivers, maritime and dock workers. Companies are forbidden to carry cargo that cannot be sourced.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 29, 2020, with the headline China tightens measures to prevent virus spread via imported frozen food. Subscribe