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China cites coronavirus on packaging, despite overseas suspicions

Chinese state media say parcels sent from abroad may have spread the coronavirus in Beijing and elsewhere, despite the suspicions of overseas medical experts that the virus can be transmitted through packaging.

The State Postal Service said it had ordered stronger measures to be taken to ventilate and disinfect locations where items sent from abroad are handled. Postal workers must wear protective gear, inject boosters and undergo regular checks, it said on its website. International packages must be quarantined, cleaned and held in the meantime to ensure they are virus-free.

The Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper quoted the Beijing Center for Disease Control and virologists as linking the recent infections to packages from abroad. It said on Tuesday that investigators found newly infected people had received packages sent from Canada and the US.

China has sealed off parts of Beijing’s Haidian district after detecting three cases, just weeks before the capital will host the Winter Olympic Games. Another person in the southern tech hub of Shenzhen who tested positive for omicron handled packages sent from North America, the paper said.

Beijing Olympics organizers announced Monday that only “selected” spectators will be allowed to attend the event, which officially opens on February 4. Beijing has announced that no No fans from outside of the country are allowed and tickets are not available to the public.

China has largely avoided major virus outbreaks with lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions, although the country continues to battle a surge in some cities, including including the port of Tianjin, about an hour from Beijing.

A city that has endured weeks of lockdown under China’s “zero-COVID” policy appears to have received some relief. The drop in case numbers in Xi’an, a city of 13 million people famous for being home to the Terracotta Statue Army, has led authorities to gradually allow people to leave their homes and return to work.

Only one additional case was reported in the city out of 127 new Chinese domestic transmission cases announced on Tuesday.

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/china-media-foreign-parcels-suspected-infections-82320695 China cites coronavirus on packaging, despite overseas suspicions

Emma Bowman

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