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No Covid risk from eating cooked pork, beef or chicken: virologist

May 12. 2020
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By The Nation

A Chulalongkorn University virologist has debunked widespread rumours that Covid-19 can be transferred to pigs, cattle or chicken, making their meat unsafe to eat. Dr Yong Poovorawan emphasised, however, that all meat should be cooked thoroughly before consumption in line with normal hygiene practice, since heat kills all viruses including Covid-19.

The food-safety scare blew up after Chinese research showed that coronavirus can be carried by cats, which sparked public concern that eating animals may be another source of Covid-19 infection.

Dr Yong dismissed such fears as groundless, but said operators of slaughterhouses and meat-processing plants should be on the alert for any signs of Covid-19 infection in workers. Any worker found to be infected with Covid-19 must be quarantined for 14 days along with their close contacts. Meanwhile their section of production line must be halted for a day and disinfected with anti-viral chlorine or alcohol compounds.

“What we [virologists] are most scared of is a Covid-19 outbreak in factories, because of the numbers of workers packed close together on production lines. We must apply social distancing and physical distancing in factories by dividing shifts and managing the schedule. The more people who get infected, the fewer workers there will be in the factory, which might lead to the factory’s closure” said Dr Yong.

He added that his experience showed respiratory diseases tend to spread more easily during the rainy season than in the summer. Therefore, Thailand must take strong disease-prevention measures in the rainy months of July and August, since diagnosis of respiratory illnesses would be more complicated than usual at this time. He also urged people to take extra care of themselves to reduce their chances of developing colds.

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