DVSS checks imported salmon, products over virus fears

Beijing's market Covid-19 outbreak has led to fears of buying salmon.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 17: The Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) is carrying out checks on imported salmon as well as other imported products in Sarawak after a new Covid-19 outbreak was allegedly linked to European salmon at a wholesale seafood and meat market in Beijing, China.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said that DVSS is currently investigating cold storages to find out whether the imported food in Sarawak is a matter of concern.

“Kuala Lumpur has been quiet about this (has not given instruction regarding imported salmon and other food). But we will investigate to identify the source of the imported products here.

“We (the authorities) do not want to rush in taking action because we need to identify the source of the products first,” he told a daily press conference on Covid-19 here today.

The Deputy Chief Minister pointed out that DVSS is the authority responsible for giving permits for imports of meat from Australia, India or other countries.

“We will discuss with FAMA (Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority) as we have quite a bit of imported vegetables from China as well.

“We will also discuss with JKNS (State Health Department) on how to monitor the situation in the import sector,” he added.

Meanwhile, parts of Beijing have reimposed lockdown measures since June 13 after a cluster of locally transmitted coronavirus cases emerged nearly two months after the Chinese capital appeared to have stamped out the virus.

According to the AFP, health officials in China have reported another 31 new Covid-19 cases today, bringing the total to 137 in the space of five days in Beijing’s worst outbreak since early February.

China has halted imports from European salmon suppliers after the virus was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at Beijing’s Xinfadi food market which supplies 80 per cent of the city’s meat and vegetables.

Tens of thousands of people linked to the new Beijing virus cluster were being tested, with almost 30 residential compounds in the city now under lockdown.

At least 1,255 scheduled flights were cancelled this morning, state-run People’s Daily reported, nearly 70 per cent of all trips to and from Beijing’s main airports.

Kindergartens, primary schools and high schools across Beijing were closed, while some restaurants, bars and nightclubs also shut their doors amid fears of a full-scale lockdown.

Officials have closed 11 markets and disinfected thousands of food and beverage businesses in Beijing after the outbreak was detected.—DayakDaily