Based on the chopping board that was used for salmon, will it cause an infection of coronavirus?

That is the big question after the Xinfadi market was shut down at Beijing's biggest wholesale market. This happened after discovery of six coronavirus cases, 45 asymptomatic cases that were given notification, and infected items used by the fish-monger, mentioned in CGTN.

What set off the alarm bell for health officials was the chopping board that was used to chop all the imported salmon, creating fear of the virus getting into the cut-up fish that can transmit it.

Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist for the Chinese CDC, who said that it will be difficult to conclude where the infection source is at the Xinfadi market, reported in Fish Farming Expert.

No one is sure of the coronavirus came from the sellers chopping board, where it was found first to make a sweeping generalization. Wu added that the chopping board might have been laden with the coronavirus, in some other way, or maybe another product with a virus that cannot be determined.

Another fact to consider is that mammals are the only known hosts of the coronavirus. This was cleared up by Cheng Gong, the virologist at Tsinghua University.

What Cheng stressed is that the virus needs a receptor enzyme located on the surfaces of cells to hook on. Without these receptors, it cannot infiltrate the cells at all and fish don't have these receptors. Most of these receptor enzymes are found in most mammalian cells, not fish, mentioned in Tukar Tiub.

Findings from a study done by the University College London implies that the coronavirus will infect most mammals, though not fish, reptilians, or avians.

Also read: Satellite Images Imply Coronavirus Might Have Started in China as Early as August

Wu then explained that markets have many products, and those involved are too numerous to track where the infection source in a brief time. More samples are needed to be examined and see what can be done to pinpoint the source, and bring in different expertise to tie in everything as a whole.

Is eating salmon safe or risky?

Tracing the source of the coronavirus found on the chopping board is more important, said Zhong Kai, connected to the Chinese Preventive Medicine Association. He suggested not to eat raw salmon until the examination is complete.

According to Zhong cited in Euractiv, there is no hard proof that the coronavirus is transmissible via food and drinks. It has yet to be verified when compared to inhalation or unnecessary close contact.

Coronavirus can still live on object surfaces for hours or days. The virus might survive on chlled salmon, but the chances are statistically low or it might change. Zhong stressed this as the questions mount.

If anyone will be eating salmon, there should be some things to do to lessen the risk. Look over these tips from the Chinese CDC to avoid transmission.

Zhong said that preventives like wearing masks and handwashing before, and after preparing and cooking the food should be observed. 

Fish cannot be infected by the coronavirus

To be clear, fishes are less likely to have the virus in them, it is the human handler who got infected by preparing the fish. More studies are needed for verification. 

Related article: Coronavirus Found on Chopping Boards in Beijing Market as 45 Tested Positive for COVID-19