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Chinese authorities find Covid-19 cluster at major chicken processing plant in Harbin as Beijing introduces new curbs

Chinese authorities find Covid-19 cluster at major chicken processing plant in Harbin as Beijing introduces new curbs
A new cluster of Covid-19 has been detected in Harbin, in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, with authorities registering 10 symptomatic Covid-19 cases and 31 asymptomatic infections.

On Friday, authorities in China said that they had identified a new cluster of Covid-19 related to a local meat-processing company run by Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand, in Harbin, China. 

Official said that 10 symptomatic Covid-19 cases and 31 asymptomatic infections were detected during mass-scale coronavirus testing. Authorities stated that emergency measures had been taken to control the outbreak, adding that tests were also being carried out on product samples. 

Samples taken from inside the slaughterhouse, a cold storage area and the outside of product packaging area, including a corridor, returned positive results for the virus. A total of 1,650 samples from the company’s food factory were collected as of Thursday. 

Local authorities say they have removed all the company’s products from sale. However, none of the 43,712 samples of the firm’s products have returned a positive result. 

News of the outbreak has been trending on the social media platform Weibo, with some users urging others not to eat products produced by the Thai conglomerate. 

Meatpacking workers in Europe, the US, and Brazil were also hard hit by the virus in 2020, with thousands of workers infected with Covid-19. 

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Covid has re-emerged in China in recent weeks, with some authorities adopting new curbs despite a dearth of cases in the area. Beijing has also encouraged people not to travel during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, a period when millions of urban dwellers typically return to their villages to celebrate. 

On Friday, China’s most populous city, Shanghai, reported six new Covid-19 cases, the first outbreak since November, prompting two hospitals to go into lockdown after they were linked to the new infections. 

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