A city located in the eastern Anhui province of China discovered the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 on the packaging of shrimps from Ecuador, the state media confirmed on Wednesday, in the latest instance of the virus getting detected on imported products.

The coronavirus was found on the outer part of the packaging of frozen shrimps bought by a restaurant in Wuhu city when the local authorities carried out a routine check, CCTV, the nation's state television mentioned.

The news broke a day after a port city in eastern Shandong province said it found the virus on the packaging of imported frozen seafood, although it did not say where it originated. Since July, several other Chinese cities have also reported cases, including the port cities of Xiamen and Dalian, prompting China to suspend imports from three Ecuadorean shrimp producers.

COVID-19 on Frozen Food Packaging in China

Shrimps
Import of Shrimps Pixabay

CCTV said on Wednesday the Wuhu restaurant had stored the contaminated products in a freezer since purchase and that all related products in the city had been sealed off. Nucleic acid tests for the virus on workers, food and inside the restaurant, as well as for staff at a shrimp wholesale company and their family members showed negative results, as did tests carried out on staff, food and the environment at other restaurants in the city that bought shrimps from the wholesale company.

The novel coronavirus, which causes the respiratory disease COVID-19, is believed to have emerged in a seafood and wildlife market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. China embarked on intensive screening of meat and seafood containers at major ports after a fresh outbreak of the disease was linked to a wholesale food market in Beijing in June. An Ecuadorian official on Wednesday said China had given approval for one of three companies subject to restrictions to resume exports after Ecuador agreed to improve shipping protocols.

(With agency inputs)