Health Ministry: Food packaging from COVID-19-hit countries to be tested hinh anh 1A woman shops in a supermarket in Nha Trang city, Khanh Hoa province, Vietnam. — (Photo: VNA/VNS)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has ordered the testing of samples of food packaging imported from countries with large COVID-19 outbreaks to head off potential exposure to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

The precautionary move comes as Vietnam has largely controlled the domestic situation – it has gone more than 80 days without community transmission – but health authorities warn risks of virus resurgence remain real and significant.

To strengthen prevention measures and prevent the spread of the virus into Vietnam, the Ministry of Health, a standing member of the Central Inter-agency Steering Committee on Food Safety, asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Finance (the General Department of Customs), and the People's Committees of centrally-run cities and provinces to instruct authorities to take strict control measures, especially against frozen food imported products from countries with outbreaks.

Samples should be collected and tested for the presence of the virus and the results submitted to the health ministry.

The ministry also called for stepped-up information campaigns and awareness-raising efforts on COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said in a recent meeting that SARS-CoV-2 might be able to survive long on packaging in cold storage conditions, which could then transmit to humans.

The minister said this was a potential source of the virus being reintroduced into the country./.