Two port workers in China tasked with unloading frozen seafood tested positive for the coronavirus, Bloomberg News reported, marking the country’s first asymptomatic infections since mid-August and raising concerns over the virus potentially spreading through contaminated food products.
Although China has largely quashed its outbreak, the two new infections are likely to raise alarm over whether certain imports can make workers and others sick.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted through food or food packaging. But earlier this month, Chinese scientists said they found infectious traces of the coronavirus lingering on chilled salmon for more than a week.
Since then, China has banned seafood imports from plants in Ecuador, Brazil and Indonesia, according to Bloomberg News. In addition, suspicions have surfaced that outbreaks in Beijing and Dalian earlier this year — after the country’s outbreak was largely controlled — could be connected to workers who dealt with seafood imports.
Researchers found the two new asymptomatic cases during routine testing of Qingdao port workers, Bloomberg News reported. Before those two individuals tested positive, Chinese health officials had not reported asymptomatic infections since Aug. 20.
No local symptomatic infections have been reported since Aug. 15.