Surging Covid Cases Shut Down Thai Conglomerate’s Northeast China Unit
What’s new: More than 100 positive Covid-19 cases have been identified in the city of Harbin in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province. All of the cases are thought to be linked to a local food production subsidiary of the Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group Co. Ltd. (CP Group).
Local health authorities have launched a sweeping testing program of all of the staff, and have collected packaging and environmental samples at the only major food processing and husbandry firm in the province, Harbin Health Commission officials said at a press conference on Monday.
CP Group has closed the facility, sealed every product in stock and carried out a comprehensive disinfection of the work environment, the company said in a statement Tuesday.
The company also said that it has decided to remove and seal off all products that were produced after Jan. 1 for local health authorities to test, the statement said.
As of Monday morning, a total of nine contaminated packaging samples had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, local health authorities said, with corresponding batches of products being sold in four cities in the province, including Qiqihaer, Heihe, Suihua and Daqing. All the products in the first three cities have been removed and the local government has been tracing the relevant batches of products sold to Daqing.
How it happened: The cluster infection first emerged earlier last week after the city reported two positive cases on Jan. 19, one of which was a night shift worker who was on duty from Jan. 3 to Jan. 15 at the food production facility. The male patient had also attended a funeral of a local villager during that period.
Local health authorities subsequently discovered dozens of confirmed and asymptomatic cases linked to the food facility during a testing sweep.
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