Port city Dalian faces third cold-chain related outbreak, reports 40 new cases
Published: Nov 13, 2021 02:39 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

Dalian, a port city of 6 million people in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, reported 40 new locally confirmed COVID-19 cases and three asymptomatic cases on Saturday. As the first identified case in the resurgence in Dalian is said to be related to cold storage, it makes the resurgence potentially the third cold-chain related outbreak in the city since the pandemic began. Analysts suggest there may still be loopholes in the city’s prevention work.

The city has added 1 new high-risk area and 3 more medium-risk areas. Of at least 215 confirmed cases reported since November 4, 16 are workers related to cold storage, 34 are from a food company and over 30 are college students, media reported. 

Dalian health authorities said that the epidemic in Dalian is characterized by clusters of companies, families and schools, with a high viral load, rapid transmission and strong infectivity. Intergenerational transmission of the virus takes about 2 days. 

The epidemic prevention and control authority of Liaoning Province has coordinated and dispatched medical personnel and resources to support epidemic prevention and control in Dalian for a rapid epidemic tracing and risk investigation.

The first identified case of this round of the outbreak in Dalian was traced to a 52-year-old employee working at a cold-chain storage warehouse in Zhuanghe, a region administered by Dalian.  

There have been 14 confirmed positive cases among cold chain working staff during this round of the resurgence.

Media reported that all companies involved in importing cold-chain foods have been suspended in Dalian. 

In fact, this has been the third cold chain-related outbreak in Dalian since the pandemic began, with experts saying loopholes in virus prevention in the cold chain may still exist.

Data showed Dalian shoulders nearly one-third of the storage of cold-chain goods in China. The epidemic in Dalian is likely to impact the circulation of cold-chain food in the domestic market.

The city is also the largest port of cold-chain aquatic product imports and an important cold-chain storage and transportation base in China. Nearly 70 percent of imported cold-chain goods enter China through Dalian port. There are about 600,000 people in Dalian alone engaged in imported cold chain related industries.

In order to cope with this challenge, at the end of last year, Dalian announced the implementation of the first station fixed-point cold storage management system, requiring all imported cold chain food from the port or other provinces into Dalian to be moved in the fixed-point cold storage for centralized elimination, detection and supervision before entering the warehouse. 

Those who had direct contact with imported goods were identified as top-ranking high-risk persons and all received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. There is a special route between their living area and the operation area, and a special person is responsible for the whole process of supervision, to avoid virus transmission.

But there may still be loopholes in cold chain storage sites, analysts say. 

As of August 24, the two-dose vaccination rate of people over the age of 18 in Dalian reached 84.44 percent, and the city has started giving booster shots to those who are vaccinated. 

Global Times