Update: Shenzhen rushes to expand COVID-19 testing after 3 workers in grocery store test positive
Published: Aug 15, 2020 12:09 PM Updated: Aug 15, 2020 02:10 PM

 Photo: cnsphoto

South China's Shenzhen has activated widespread nucleic acid testing of residents after employees of a grocery store chain tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to the Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission, an employee of Alibaba's Freshippo surnamed Chen, who worked as a yogurt promoter in a Freshippo branch in Shenzhen's Luohu district, has contracted COVID-19. 

Employee and contact screening found two more people working in the same branch store with Chen and three family members of Chen living in Guangdong's Lufeng tested positive for the coronavirus and are currently asymptomatic.

Freshippo said it has closed all 21 of its grocery stores in Shenzhen and will test all food products and employees for the virus.

City authorities are now seeking to test all those who had shopped at the Freshippo store's Shuibei branch since July 24.

The COVID-19 tests will cover areas close to the IBC tower in Shenzhen's Shuibei area where the Freshippo store is located. Residents who live in the areas have been asked to stay indoors until they have been tested. 

Residents who live in the same residential area as those who have tested positive are now under quarantine. All of the residents will be tested for the coronavirus, local authorities said Saturday.

The anti-epidemic group led by Party chief of Shenzhen Wang Weizhong on Friday required departments to adopt the "strictest, most complete and most thorough" methods of curbing the spread of the virus.

Wang stressed that Shenzhen will swiftly carry out epidemiological research and investigation on the sources of infections, tracking all close contacts and quarantining them. The management of key venues should be strengthened, including environmental testing and disinfection. 

The source of infection remains unknown, but it may have come from frozen food products, many concerns.

Shenzhen will strengthen supervision and establish a closed-loop management system of the entire supply chain relating to imported frozen food products. Warehouses, food markets and restaurants will also be disinfected. 

Since July, at least 10 cases in China had involved frozen food products, including frozen chicken wings from Brazil and shrimps from Ecuador that tested positive for the coronavirus, media reported. 

Two batches of frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil that tested positive for the virus were found in Shenzhen's Longgang district. 

Some retail markets in Guangdong Province have already enhanced their anti-epidemic measures. Some have removed all seafood products, and require coronavirus tests be carried out before imported meat and seafood products are sold and carry out routine weekly checks of the supply chain of frozen food products.