Norwegian salmon was not source of coronavirus at Beijing food market, says Norway

A security officer at a blocked entrance to the Xinfadi market in Beijing on June 16, 2020.
A security officer at a blocked entrance to the Xinfadi market in Beijing on June 16, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

OSLO (REUTERS) - Chinese and Norwegian authorities have concluded that Norwegian salmon was likely not the source of the novel coronavirus that was found on cutting boards in a Beijing food market, the Norwegian fisheries and seafood minister said on Wednesday (June 17).

Following a meeting between Chinese and Norwegian officials on Tuesday, both countries concluded that the source of the outbreak did not originate with fish from the Nordic country, Mr Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said.

"We can clear away uncertainty and the halt in salmon export to China," he told a video conference that included journalists.

The resurgence of Covid-19 in the Chinese capital over the past six days has upended daily life for many, with some fearing the entire city is headed for a lockdown as the number of new cases mounts.

China halted imports of European salmon following reports on Saturday (June 13) that the virus was discovered on equipment used for handling the fish at Beijing’s Xinfadi market, prompting supermarkets in the Chinese capital to remove salmon from their shelves. 

Norwegian salmon producers saw orders from China cancelled over the weekend, although Norway’s Food Safety Authority said there was no evidence fish could be infected.