There is never a dull moment in the saga we know as the covid-19 pandemic. Each day comes with a new discovery, which more often than not, sparks a debate between scientists and governments the world over. The latest such occurrence revolves around a shipment of chicken wings from Brazil that recently tested positive for covid-19 in China.
The frozen treat, which was imported to the Chinese city of Shenzen, was undergoing a routine check when its surface was tested positive for covid-19. Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time food imports in China have come under the spotlight for being contaminated–as some imported shipments of seafood have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 previously too.
But what is bringing some respite in what could have been a potentially explosive situation is that none of the people who came in contact with the shipment from Brazil have tested positive for covid-19.
The chances of you contracting coronavirus from food packaging is slim
We have known for a while now that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can survive on surfaces from anywhere between a few hours to a few days. So for food packaging to test positive for coronavirus as it made its way from South America to the heart of Asia was bound to happen.
In fact, not just coronavirus–other viruses too can survive on surfaces for up to two years if the temperature is hospitable. And yet, scientists are adamant that the risk of transmission in the cases is very low.
In a statement, the World Health Organisation said:
People should not fear food, or food packaging or processing or delivery of food.
“There is no evidence that food or the food chain is participating in transmission of this virus. And people should feel comfortable and safe,” the WHO head of emergencies programme Mike Ryan told a briefing in Geneva recently.
The American FDA on its website also says that: “Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.”
The bottom line: Coronavirus is everywhere
Not so long ago, the WHO admitted to a frightening possibility: coronavirus is airborne, especially in closed poorly-ventilated indoor spaces. Add to that the virus’ ability to thrive on surfaces and you’ve got proof that covid-19 is indeed everywhere. And we’ve got to learn to live with it.
As life goes back to normal in India, office spaces open up, and restaurant dining resumes once more—it is important to remember even when not quarantined, our safety in our own hands. Wearing a mask, no matter how uncomfortable it might be; washing hands, especially after touching surfaces and packages; and maintaining social distancing can be effective ways of preventing coronavirus—perhaps even more so than vaccines that are yet to hit the markets.
The statistics are rising and the only thing we can do to avoid being a part of it, is to take these precautions without thinking twice.