China urges caution in opening foreign mail after Omicron case

China urges caution in opening foreign mail after Omicron case

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China is urging people to wear masks and gloves when opening mail, especially from abroad, after authorities suggested the first case of the ommicron coronavirus variant found in Beijing may have arrived via a parcel from Canada.

The authorities have vowed to intensify the disinfection of foreign mail and insist that postal workers who deal with it be fully vaccinated.

The precautions come less than three weeks before the capital opens for the Winter Olympics as several Chinese cities work to quell a new outbreak of coronavirus infection.

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“Reduce their purchases of goods from abroad or receive mail from abroad,” state broadcaster CCTV said in a social media post late Monday.

Be sure to protect yourself during childbirth, face to face, and wear masks and gloves; Try to open the package outdoors. “

Health officials said the person found to have the Omicron variant opened a package from Canada that was shipped via the United States and Hong Kong, and transfer through the package could not be ruled out. Read more

CCTV said the case emphasized the importance of “personal defence”.

Similar suggestions on how to handle packages, not just those from abroad, were made by the National Health Commission on its official WeChat account and republished by authorities in the cities of Shanghai and Nanjing.

A delivery man sorts parcels while sitting in the box of his electric tricycle after the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beijing, China, August 21, 2020.

China has not claimed that COVID-19 can be transmitted through cold chain imports such as frozen meat and fish, although the World Health Organization has played down the risks. Beijing is also promoting a message through state media that the virus was found abroad before it was detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019. Read more

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last year that the relative risk of contracting the coronavirus through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects is considered low.

Without all the evidence, it has been difficult to draw any definitive conclusions, but some scholars questioned Beijing’s theory on Tuesday.

It was not clear how the virus could survive in the mail, where it spreads through droplets surrounded by moisture and stops infecting, said David Heyman, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Once it dries.

When asked by CNBC about the idea of ​​bringing Omicron to China by mail, Pfizer Inc board member and former FDA president Scott Gottlieb said he didn’t think it was reasonable.

“It seems like a lot of theories,” he said.

In recent weeks, China has had a hard time in many cities in many cases, including from the highly transmissible Omicron variant. On Tuesday, it reported 127 new domestic cases with confirmed symptoms. Read more

The State Post Office announced Monday that international mail must be disinfected after arriving in China, and that employees who handle and deliver international mail must have received COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.

The China Post also reminds recipients of foreign mail to “disinfect the contents in a timely manner” by using the labels affixed to the packages.

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(Reporting by Josh Horowitz) Reporting by Dominic Patton in the editorial room in Beijing and Shanghai, Josephine Mason in London, and Carolyn Homer in New York. Editing by Brenda Goh, Robert Pearsel, Raisa Kasulowski and Mark Heinrich

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