China urges caution, widens testing after mail suspected in omicron case

·1 min read

China will conduct extensive testing for people who have received international mail after connecting two omicron cases to international mail.

On Wednesday, people in the southern city of Guangzhou who received international mail between Jan. 16 and 19 were instructed to test for COVID-19 within the next three days. Those who came in contact with someone who received international mail in the past three to seven days will also have access to free testing, according to Bloomberg.

The city will also require that incoming deliveries go through two rounds of disinfection, the outlet reported.

While Guangzhou has yet to detect an omicron case in community transmission, the added precautions come after one infection in the Shenzhen area was linked to mail, Bloomberg added.

Earlier this week, Beijing also linked its first omicron case to international mail from Canada. Following that case, over 16,500 people who were possibly exposed to the person were tested and received negative results.

While touching contaminated surfaces or objects can possibly cause COVID-19 infections, researchers have said the associated risk tends to be very low.

"Virus can remain viable on surfaces for a while at cold temperatures, but transmission via contaminated surfaces is not a common route of transmission," Ben Cowling, the University of Hong Kong's chair professor of epidemiology, said at the time of the Beijing case linked to mail.

Still, the government in China has advised that people wear gloves and masks when handling international mail.

"Minimize purchases of overseas goods or receiving mail from abroad," state broadcaster CCTV said in a social media post on Monday.

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