WHO: People should not fear the spread of COVID-19 in food, packaging

The World Health Organization said on Thursday it saw no evidence of coronavirus being spread by food or packaging and urged people not to be afraid of the virus entering the food chain.

The World Health Organization said on Thursday it saw no proof of coronavirus being spread by food or bundling and asked people not to fear the infection entering the food chain.

Two urban areas in China said they had discovered traces of the coronavirus in imported frozen chicken wings from Brazil and on the outer packaging of frozen Ecuadorian shrimp, raising fears that contaminated food shipments might cause a new outbreak.

“Individuals ought not to fear food, or food bundling or delivery of food,” WHO head of the emergency program Mike Ryan told a briefing in Geneva. “There is no proof that food or the food chain is participating in the transmission of this infection. Also, individuals should feel comfortable and safe.”

WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said China had tested countless packages and “found very, very few, less than 10” proving positive for the virus.

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Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry said in a statement that it was seeking clarification on the Chinese findings. Ecuador’s production minister, Ivan Ontaneda, told Reuters that the country maintains strict protocols and cannot be held responsible for what happens to goods after they leave the country.

More than 20.69 million people reported being infected by the novel coronavirus around the world and just about 750,000? have died, as indicated by a Reuters tally.

The WHO asked nations now that are striking respective arrangements for vaccines not to abandon multilateral efforts, since vaccinating pockets will still leave the world vulnerable.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first nation to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move Moscow compared to its success in the Cold War-era space race.

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Moscow’s decision to grant approval before then has raised worries among certain specialists. Just about 10% of clinical trials are effective and a few researchers fear Moscow might be putting national prestige before safety.

The WHO needs more data to make a judgment on the extended utilization of the Russian vaccine said Bruce Aylward, WHO senior counselor.

“By far most of the population of the world is helpless to this disease,” he told the briefing. “The second thing that we are seeing is the toughness of the utilization of control measures is dropping. People are coming closer together…masks aren’t being used the way that they should etc.

“So any leveling of the disease that we are looking at is just lulling you into a sense of false security … because it has lots of space to still cause trouble,” Aylward added.