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Does COVID-19 spread through food? WHO clears doubts

The apprehensions came to the fore after two cities in China had found traces of coronavirus in imported frozen chicken wings from Brazil and on the outer packaging of frozen Ecuadorian shrimp.

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Does COVID-19 spread through food? WHO clears doubts
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The World Health Organisation on Thursday stated that there is no evidence of coronavirus being spread through food or packaging, putting to bed doubts among people afraid of the virus entering the food chain.

"People should not fear food, or food packaging or processing or delivery of food," WHO head of emergencies programme Mike Ryan told a briefing in Geneva.

"There is no evidence that food or the food chain is participating in transmission of this virus. And people should feel comfortable and safe." he added.

The apprehensions came to the fore after two cities in China had found traces of coronavirus in imported frozen chicken wings from Brazil and on the outer packaging of frozen Ecuadorian shrimp.

On the issue, WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said that "very few, less than 10" food packages had been found positive for the virus among hundreds of thousands of packages that were tested.

Meanwhile, Brazil, the country from where food packages tested positive for the virus, had stated that they wanted seeking clarification on the Chinese findings, adding that it was not responsible for what happened to goods after it left the country. 

The COVID-19 virus had killed almost 750,000 and infected more than 20.69 million people worldwide.

Meanwhile, Russia will start the production of its COVID-19 vaccine within two weeks, the country's health minister Mikhail Murashko said.

The world's first registered vaccine against the novel coronavirus was announced by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday during an online meeting with government officials.

The vaccine, named Sputnik V, was developed by the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology, alongside the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Russia plans to produce at least five million doses of the vaccine a month from December through January, according to Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Gamaleya National Research Center.

According to a report by Reuters, immunologists and infectious disease experts say the step by Russia to claim the first spot in the global race to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 could be a "reckless" step.

The report quoted Francois Balloux, an expert at University College London`s Genetics Institute, who called it "a reckless and foolish decision".

"Mass vaccination with an improperly tested vaccine is unethical. Any problem with the Russian vaccination campaign would be disastrous both through its negative effects on health, but also because it would further set back the acceptance of vaccines in the population,” Balloux was quoted as saying by Reuters. 

Meanwhile, Germany too  called into question the quality and safety of the coronavirus vaccine launched by Russia.

"There is no known data on the quality, efficacy, and safety of the Russian vaccine." a health ministry spokeswoman told German newspaper network RND.

"Patient safety is of the highest priority," he added.

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