More than 178,000 residents of an east China city have been given the all-clear after a mass coronavirus testing programme was launched in response to two local port workers being identified as asymptomatic cases.
A total of 178,475 people were tested and there were no positive results, the Qingdao Municipal Health Commission in Shandong province said on Saturday.
The programme was initiated after two male workers at Qingdao port tested positive for Covid-19 in a routine test arranged by their company on Thursday.
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Neither of the men – identified only as Dong, 40, and Chen, 45 – had shown any symptoms of the disease but were now in quarantine in hospital and receiving treatment, the health authority said.
They had both tested negative in a routine nucleic acid test on September 8, but the positive results came after they had worked a night shift unpacking frozen food.
As of 8am Saturday, 209 of the pair’s close contacts had been traced and tested for the coronavirus. All of them returned negative results but would still undergo a period of quarantine, the authority said.
A further 232 people known to be close contacts of the 209 had also been identified and quarantined, it said.
As well as people, about 21,000 frozen products and environmental samples collected from two Russian ships at the port were also tested for the coronavirus, and 51 positive results were returned.
All of the affected items and others from the same batches had been isolated and not been released onto the market, the health authority said.
As a result of the positive results, China would not accept import declarations from the two ships for a period of four weeks, the General Administration of Customs said on Saturday.
The customs authority last week suspended seafood imports from two firms – one from Brazil, the other from Indonesia – for a week after their fish products tested positive for the coronavirus.
More than 12,000 workers at Qingdao Port, China’s second-largest for foreign trade, had been tested for the coronavirus since Thursday and more tests would follow, the health authority said.
The company that employed Dong and Chen said it processed about 300,000 tonnes of frozen food a year.
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