Beijing has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases in the past week-nearly, all of which is connected to a major wholesale food market. State media has said that the virus had been found on the chopping boards on the Xinfadi market used for imported salmon-raising concerns around the world. Supermarkets and restaurants throughout Beijing quickly rushed to pull salmon from their shelves and European imported goods were paused.
A 22-year-old man, reported to periodically clean frozen seafood, was confirmed on 17 June 2020 to have tested positive for the epidemic in Tianjin, near Beijing.
What happened in Beijing fish market?
Beijing reported its first case of the virus on 11 June after 57 days without an infection transmitted locally. About 150 cases have since been confirmed-nearly half of which are connected to the city’s main wholesale market. Xinfadi supplies 80% of vegetables and meat from Beijing, which is used by tens of thousands of people every day.
Were Salmons a host for the disease?
A Chinese Center for Disease Control official said there was no evidence that salmon was the host-or even an intermediate host-for the virus.
Shi Guoqing, deputy director of the disaster management centre of the CDC, said that the salmon had no evidence of hosting the virus before it reached the market-suggesting that the virus was on the market rather than in the salmon itself.
Cheng Gong, a virologist at Tsinghua University, told CGTN, “Viruses must rely on the viral receptor on the host cell surfaces to infect cells. Without a certain receptor, they cannot enter into cells successfully.” Further stating, “All known evidence so far suggests this kind of receptors exist only in mammals, not fish.”
Nevertheless, the chief epidemiologist of the CDC, Wu Zunyou, said the fish did not catch the virus in their natural environment-but noted that during their processing or transit, it was likely they were infected by workers.
Overall, it is unclear whether the virus’ initial cause is of where it may have originated from, since WHO has said it cannot be spread to humans by food and water.