Major processor closes for COVID tests as China moves to contain Dalian outbreak

Major processor closes for COVID tests as China moves to contain Dalian outbreak

Additional reporting from Lewis Hu

The Chinese government is moving to contain a growing outbreak of coronavirus linked to a seafood company based in the port city of Dalian, in Liaoning province.

Dalian Rich Enterprise Group, a major seafood processor based in the city, has temporarily closed its operations for COVID-19 tests. Despite being based several kilometers from Dalian Kaiyang Seafood, where the outbreak seemingly originated , Dalian Rich has "temporarily suspend production for a full investigation", Deng En Tang, the company’s chairman, told Undercurrent News .

All businesses, aside from essential operations, are to close in Dalian Bay, where Dalian Rich and Dalian Kaiyang are based, local authorities announced Monday.

Dalian Rich is based around 10km from Dalian Kaiyang, Deng said.

Dalian Bay is the base for around 10 other seafood companies, according to Lewis Hu, who manages Undercurrent ‘s WeChat feed in China. There are also dozens of small seafood wholesalers and retailers in the area.

"Imports and sales are suspended. Wait for further instructions from the customs," Deng said.

Nucleic acid tests on staff will be conducted this Wednesday and work can be resumed if there are no problems, he said. "I believe production will return to normal soon."

The situation will take around three weeks to clear up, Deng said. In May, Dalian Rich opened a new 60,000-square-meter plant which can produce over 20,000 metric tons of finished products and has 35,000t of cold storage capacity. On Sunday, Chinese health authorities announced they will test all the six million residents of Dalian, as the number of cases increased and spread to other provinces.

The number of cases in Dalian has risen to 38, with 30 linked to Dalian Kaiyang, according to reports from the Liaoning health authority.

Since the first case of the Dalian Kaiyang employee last week , 79 new cases nationwide have been linked back to the seafood company outbreak.So far, the epidemic has spread to three provinces outside Liaoning, which are Jilin, Heilongjiang, and Fujian. As well as Dalian, seven other cities have been impacted; Tieling, Anshan, Siping, Changchun, Hegang, Suihua, and Fuzhou. Of the 79 cases, 38 are asymptomatic, according to the authorities.As most of the cases are linked to Dalian Kaiyang, employees and their family members will be tested every three days, said Zhao Lian, deputy director of the Dalian Municipal Health commission.The confirmed cases are the first reported in Dalian in more than three months. They come at […]

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