New Zealand has gone 102 days without a local transmission and authorities are baffled as to the source of this latest cluster. One of the first infected is employed at a temperature-controlled warehouse that handles, among many things, frozen foods.
Quoted from the article –
“Health officials and experts suggest that this seems unlikely but not impossible. There have been several reports from China of health officials detecting genetic material of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, on frozen goods. In an example this week, authorities in the eastern Chinese port city of Yantai detected traces of the virus on imported frozen seafood.. The genetic traces suggest contamination with the coronavirus but not necessarily whole infectious virus particles.
“Infectious-disease researcher Amandine Gamble is a researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, who recently led a study on treatments to inactivate SARS-CoV-2. “It is very plausible that SARS-CoV-2 can remain viable on frozen surfaces for several days,” she tells Ars. “However, it is not clear whether the virus can easily be transmitted via contaminated surfaces.”
“New Zealand’s Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said this week that surfaces at the storage facility will be tested to see if frozen freight or something else may have been the source of the new infections.”
[Let me add that the packaging being discussed is outer packaging layers. It is extremely unlikely that individual frozen food packages have been contaminated. ]