Russia is not considering restricting the supply of food from China over coronavirus fears, the deputy head of the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday, according to Russian news agencies.
“We are not considering it,” Maxim Uvaydov said, adding that there has not yet been any information about whether the coronavirus can be transferred through food.
Meanwhile, Dmitry Vostrikov, head of Russia’s Food Products Manufacturers and Suppliers Association, told TASS Russia could import fruit, vegetable, and seafood products from Turkey or Morocco, replacing imports from China amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“Vegetables, fruits and seafood make up the basis of Chinese food exports to Russia […] At the moment, the falling volumes [of food products] can easily be replaced by supplies from other countries, such as Morocco and Turkey,” he told the state-run news agency.
Many countries have suspended their imports from China following the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus that has so far claimed 491 lives.
According to Vostrikov, a total of 453,000 tons of vegetables worth $370 million were imported from China in the first 11 months of 2019. “Israel ranks second in this area with 139,000 tons worth $135 million of import. Turkey is in third place with 136,000 tons worth $148 million,” he noted.
The novel coronavirus, so named because under the microscope it resembles a crown, or corona in Latin, has affected over 24,000 people.
The virus, which originated in Wuhan, is said to have been transmitted to humans from animals, particularly bats.