BEIJING, July 12 (Reuters) – China’s health authorities said on Tuesday that local governments will no longer need to test some imported goods for the coronavirus, in a move aimed at reducing the cost of its strict containment measures. prevention of COVID-19.
China began testing the packaging of refrigerated and frozen food imports for the virus in June 2020, after a cluster of infections among workers at a wholesale food market in Beijing.
Six months later, Beijing also recommended testing environmental products, even when scientists said the risk of coronavirus infection from contact with contaminated surfaces was low.
Local governments will no longer need to test environmental food or other goods for the virus, the National Health Commission said on its website, but it was unclear whether the products would still be subject to customs checks.
Refrigerated and frozen foods will continue to be tested, however, but exporters will not face import suspensions when their goods are positive at customs controls, the NHC added.
The steps come amid growing efforts to support China’s flagging economy.
China has linked previous outbreaks of COVID-19 among port workers to the detection of the virus on frozen food. But their intensive scrutiny and testing and disinfection of imported products added significant cost and disrupted trade.
The virus has been detected in hundreds of refrigerated and frozen food shipments since 2020, with major suppliers of meat, seafood and other products suspended for weeks. read more
Some local governments have gone beyond national rules, with the city of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, banning imported frozen foods in an effort to reduce the risk of the virus.
(The story is updated to add ‘n’ fall in the governments in the title)
Report by Roxanne Liu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Kirsten Donovan
Our standards: Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.