Seafood 'should be safe'

Seafood 'should be safe'

The head of the Fisheries Department has assured consumers that the novel coronavirus cannot be spread via cold-blooded aquatic animals and strict hygiene measures are in place for fishermen and in food processing plants.

Mesak Pakdeekong said yesterday that Covid-19 had not been found in cold-blooded aquatic animals, which have gills instead of lungs. He also said their cells were different to that of humans so there was a very slim chance of the coronavirus mutating and infecting aquatic animals, Thai media reported him as saying.

He added there had also been no reports of such creatures being infected by Sars and Mers viruses, which are of the same family as Covid-19.

However, contamination cannot be ruled out during handling.

Mr Mesak advised consumers to clean seafood thoroughly with hand protection and cook well before eating.

He was seeking to allay fears among some consumers that they could catch the virus by eating seafood following the Covid-19 outbreak at a shrimp market in Samut Sakhon province.

The department has enforced strict hygiene measures to make sure seafood was safe for consumption. It has also imposed hygiene and sanitary rules for farmers, fishermen and the food industry in general to follow.

The department is also working with other government agencies to prevent the spread of the disease in the fisheries sector. Fishermen and workers at all piers are screened and preventive measures are in place during food processing, Mr Mesak said.

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