Authorities from Norway and China have concluded that imported salmon from the Nordic country did not cause the latest coronavirus outbreak sweeping the Chinese capital.
Salmon was discovered on cutting boards at a Beijing market believed to have been the source of the infections that have brought the city to a standstill over recent days.
The salmon, imported from Norway, had initially been flagged as a potential source of the virus as Chinese authorities tried to discover where the outbreak had started.
However, the Minister for Fisheries and Seafood in Norway, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, confirmed that Norwegian salmon was not to blame. He said:
“We can clear away uncertainty. Chinese and Norwegian officials had decided that the source of the outbreak did not originate in fish from Norway on Tuesday.”
On Saturday, China had temporarily halted the import of salmon from Norway and Europe after traces of covid-19 were discovered on equipment used for handling fish and seafood at Beijing’s Xinfadi market.
Panic spread across Beijing, with supermarkets removing imported salmon from their shelves and numerous orders for Norwegian salmon canceled from China.
However, Norway’s Food Safety Authority had maintained from the beginning that there was no evidence fish could become infected with the coronavirus.
The cancellation of salmon orders from Norway led to a steep drop in shares for Norwegian salmon farmers on Monday.
Since the announcement, shares have slightly recovered, with some exports of salmon to China resuming.