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Indonesia halts exports by seafood company after positive coronavirus test

Straits Times - September 21, 2020

Jakarta – Indonesia has suspended exports from an Indonesian seafood company Putri Indah into China after its frozen fish products tested positive for the coronavirus, the country's Fisheries Ministry said in a statement last Saturday.

The ministry said that an investigation is under way and that the suspension will apply only to Putri Indah, "whereas the others can still do export activities as usual".

The virus was detected on the outermost side of the package, not on the fish, the ministry said. The seven-day suspension began last Friday, it said.

A person in charge of marketing, answering a number listed for Putri Indah, hung up the phone without saying anything.

China's General Administration of Customs said last Friday that it will stop accepting import applications from Putri Indah for one week after a batch of frozen hairtail fish from the company tested positive for the coronavirus.

China is Indonesia's biggest destination for fish exports. Indonesia shipped more than 168,300 tonnes, worth over US$240 million (S$326 million), there last year, according to the Indonesian statistics bureau.

China Customs said on Sept 11 that it would halt imports from companies for a week if their frozen products tested positive a first or second time for the coronavirus.

Indonesia reported 3,989 new coronavirus cases yesterday, taking the total to 244,676, data from its Health Ministry showed. A total of 105 new deaths were recorded.

The country's Covid-19 death toll now stands at 9,553, the highest in South-east Asia.

Last Saturday, Indonesia reported its largest daily rise in coronavirus infections, with 4,168 new cases and 112 deaths.

The national total of new cases has been steadily rising. The capital Jakarta began a second partial lockdown last Monday to try to stem the rise in cases there.

The tightened social restrictions, in place for two weeks, mean businesses, malls and houses of worship can operate only at limited capacity, while dining in at restaurants and cafes is not allowed.

Meanwhile in India, Asia's worst-affected country, the number of cases surged to 5.4 million as 92,605 new infections were added over 24 hours, data from the federal Health Ministry showed yesterday.

The country has posted the highest single-day caseload in the world since early last month and, in terms of total infections, it lags behind only the United States, which has 6.7 million cases.

A total of 1,113 people died of Covid-19 in the same 24-hour period, the ministry said, taking fatalities to 86,752, which is a relatively low 1.6 per cent of all cases.

– Reuters, Bloomberg

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/indonesia-halts-exports-by-seafood-company-after-positive-virus-test