Chinese officials have claimed that traces of COVID-19 were found on more cold-chain imports from different countries, including India, amid increasing criticism from several nations that the testing and restrictions are not based on science and would disrupt trade. Cold-chain imports from India, Russia and Argentina test positive for COVID-19 in one day in China, state-run Global Times reported on Wednesday.
Two Indian frozen butterfish packages, one Russian frozen salmon packaging sample and two Argentina frozen beef samples tested positive for COVID-19, the report said. Chinese officials said coronavirus traces were found on packages from 20 countries.
This is the second-time Chinese officials claimed to have found coronavirus on Indian fish exports. On November 13, China's General Administration of Customs suspended imports of seafood products from an Indian company for one week starting from Friday after COVID-19 was found on the outer packaging of some samples of frozen cuttlefish.
On November 16, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern questioned Chinese officials' assertions that meat products from her country had traces of coronavirus. This is incredibly important to New Zealand. We are confident that our products do not, and are not, exported with signs of COVID on them given our status as essentially being COVID-free," Ardern said.
Asked for his reaction to the criticism by New Zealand and other countries that China's most recent COVID-19 restriction on imported products is not based on science and threatens to disrupt trade, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the accusations are totally groundless and unreasonable. While the global COVID-19 pandemic remains severe, the competent authorities of the Chinese the government have taken necessary, reasonable and justified testing measures on imported food in the spirit of putting people's life and health first," he told a media briefing here on Wednesday. We will adjust relevant measures in due course in light of the development of the epidemic situation and the need for prevention and control," Zhao said.