China's Tianjin to test cold storage food sites after confirmed coronavirus case

FILE PHOTO: The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via REUTERS.

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s northern port city of Tianjin said on Sunday it plans to carry out tests on some cold storage facilities and their staff after a confirmed coronavirus case involving a worker who had handled frozen pork imported from Germany.

The patient, a 38-year-old male employee of a frozen food company in the Binhai New Area district of the city, had handled pork products from Germany on Nov. 4, the local government said.

The authorities have sealed off the cold storage centre and have contacted three districts where the cold chain food has been shipped. Those who handled the goods and close contacts of the infected worker have tested negative. Testing of residents in the neighbourhood where he lives is ongoing.

The case was discovered after Dezhou city in the eastern Shandong province informed Tianjin on Saturday that the outer packaging of a batch of German pork had tested positive for coronavirus.

A Tianjin government official said 28.1 tonnes of frozen pork knuckle imported from Germany arrived at Tianjin port on Oct. 19. The cargo was unloaded into cold storage on Nov. 4 and transported to Dezhou city on Nov. 5. All cold storages in the Binhai New Area will now be tested.

Separately, Taiyuan city in China’s northern Shanxi province on Saturday said frozen belt fish imported into Tianjin from India had tested positive for the virus, state media reported on Sunday.

Multiple cold chain products imported into China have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent months.

Chinese customs have said they will suspend imports from companies for a week if frozen food products test positive, and for a month if a supplier’s products test positive for a third time or more.

Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Mike Harrison