At least seven new confirmed local COVID-19 cases all related to cargo operations in Shanghai Pudong International Airport during the last two weeks were reported, making the freight coming into the city (and its COVID-19 prevention measures) the main focus for the public as Shanghai plays an important role in international freight transportation.
Unlike the imported cold-chain goods which have been thought to be possibly contaminated by the coronavirus, the local patients reported on November 9-10 were porters who hadn't been in contact with any COVID-19 cases or cold-chain goods 14 days before they showed any symptoms.
Pudong airport also tested all its staff at the airport overnight on Sunday to screen for any possible cases. As the second largest airport in China and third largest cargo traffic location globally, Pudong International airport plays an important role in cargo transportation, with its cargo throughput capacity reaching 3.6 million tons in 2019, albeit down 3.6 percent year-on-year.
Despite the impacts of COVID-19, over 11,800 cargo flights took off and landed at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport between July 1 and August 31, doubling that from the same period in 2019 and reaching a record high, according to the Shanghai Airport Immigration Inspection Station.
Its handling capacity, however, increases its risks to report cases of COVID-19. Shanghai Pudong airport will therefore conduct regular nucleic acid tests for freight staff and arrange COVID-19 vaccines for those in high-risk positions, the city's authorities announced on Monday.
A cargo business located in Pudong airport reached by the Global Times said the recent confirmed COVID-19 cases had no impact on their cargo business so far. "Our whole business is running at a normally pace," a staff member who didn't give her name from a logistics department at Chinese Eastern Airlines told the Global Times on Monday.
All the tests for COVID-19 were conducted overnight on Sunday, aiming to reduce potential impacts as much as possible, another staff member from the company said on Monday.
Zhang Boli, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told the Global Times on Monday that he suggested the outer packaging of cargo should be disinfected when received from overseas regions with high coronavirus risks. If the packages in question are not for emergency use, people should open it one or two days after it leaving it exposed outdoors.