Friday, March 24, 2023

Reality Check: Can Canada-China Mail Spread Omicron? – National |

Chinese health officials have claimed that the highly transmissible Omicron version of COVID-19 may have arrived in the capital Beijing via a corrupted letter from Canada – a claim dismissed and questioned by Canadian experts.

Reality Check: Can Canada-China Mail Spread Omicron? - National |

The Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control (BCDC) said in a news release on Monday that the first case of the Omicron variant in a Beijing resident may have been the result of international mail sent from Canada to the United States and via Hong Kong.

The BCDC said the letter was sent on January 7 and received on January 11.

Read more:

Employees locked inside office tower after single Omicron case in Beijing

The agency claimed that an extensive investigation, samples and tests of mailed papers showed traces of the Omicron variant.

Story continues below ad

It added that the person who tested positive had not done international or domestic travel for 14 days before getting infected.

The BCDC said, “In summary, with the epidemiological history of the case, the test results of the suspect objects and the gene sequencing results of the case samples, the possibility of contracting the virus through foreign objects cannot be ruled out.” “

It urged residents to minimize purchases of foreign goods and wear masks and disposable gloves when receiving international mail.

Click to play video: 'Beijing Olympics: China is not taking any chances with COVID-19 as a sport'

Beijing Olympics: China taking no chances with COVID-19 as sport

Beijing Olympics: China taking no chances with COVID-19 as sport

Beijing confirmed its first local case of Omicron on Saturday, weeks before the city is scheduled to host the Winter Olympics in February.

In addition to Beijing, China has reported locally transmitted infections of the Omicron variant in at least four other provinces and municipalities: in the northern city of Tianjin, the central province of Henan, the southern province of Guangdong and the northeastern province of Liaoning. However, the total number of omicron cases across China is unclear.

Story continues below ad

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 can be spread through indirect contact with contaminated surfaces, also known as fomite transmission.

But current evidence suggests that the virus is mainly transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets, the WHO says on its website.

Read more:

Droplet, aerosol, airborne: Confusion over how COVID-19 spreads

An infectious disease specialist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., Dr. Gerald Evans said it was “impossible” that there would be any infectious virus on a piece of Canadian mail that remained intact as a result of a COVID-19 transmission event. in China.

“SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, does not survive in an infectious form for very long outside an infected host or person,” he told Global News in an email.

Story continues below ad

Evans cited a study released last week by the University of Bristol that showed the virus lost 90 percent of its infectivity after 20 minutes in particulates inhaled by an infected person, with most of the loss occurring in the first five minutes.

Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, also said China’s claims do not add up.

“It doesn’t seem credible at all,” he told Global News in an email.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Chinese city begins testing all residents after Omicron cases detected'

COVID-19: Chinese city begins testing all residents after Omicron cases are detected

COVID-19: Chinese city begins testing all residents after Omicron cases are detected – January 9, 2022

Furness said that while the ability of COVID-19 to survive on paper partly depends on the roughness of the paper, it is unlikely to remain active for more than a day or two.

“A mailbag in high friction with other documents is unlikely to survive a day,” he explained.

Story continues below ad

Dr. Horacio Bach, an infectious disease specialist at the University of British Columbia, said that while omicron is highly transmitted, it is spreading in the same way as in previous forms – that is, from person to person.

Read more:

Canada Post warns of delays as Omicron leads to staff shortage

Canada Post says the WHO and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) have given public assurances that the risks involved in handling mail, including international mail, are low.

“According to PHAC, there is no known risk of coronavirus entering Canada on a parcel or package,” it said in a statement on its website.

“Currently, there is no evidence of COVID-19 being transmitted through imported goods or packages.”

What is Canada’s response?

At a news conference on Monday, Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the claim that a piece of Canadian mail offered an Omicron edition to Beijing was “an extraordinary sight.”

Story continues below ad

He said that while he may have his own opinion as to why China is making this claim, he deferred to experts how COVID-19 can be spread.

Read more:

Canada working on China’s new strategy, said Jolie

“We will investigate with authorities around the world and our partners,” Duclos said.

“I think this is not only something new, but interesting and certainly not in line with what we have done internationally and domestically.”

Click to play video: 'O'Toole says Canadian Mail's allegation that O'Micron projected in Beijing is 'humorous'

O’Toole says Canadian Mail’s allegation of projecting Omicron to Beijing is ‘humorous’

O’Toole says Canadian Mail’s allegation of projecting Omicron to Beijing is ‘humorous’

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole slammed it as “humorous”.

“Obviously, we are very concerned with the variants within the pandemic that have come from outside Canada that we have to deal with here,” O’Toole said during a news conference on Monday.

Story continues below ad

“Stories like these remind us that from the start of the pandemic, some news and reporting out of China could not be trusted.”

— With files from the Canadian Press, Reuters

View Link »

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news