Medical workers are performing Covid tests on live fish in Shanghai wet markets as virus cases surge

Shanghai fish market
Internet users questioned the practicality of performing COVID tests on a live fish (right).NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images, Haokan screenshot
  • A video of medical workers performing a Covid swab test on a fish in a fish market is making its rounds.

  • Internet users questioned if Shanghai has gone too far in its bid to beat the virus outbreak.

  • Chinese authorities have in the past linked virus cases to everything from parcels to frozen food.

A video of medical workers performing a COVID-19 test on a live fish at a Shanghai wet market has gone viral in China and has internet users questioning whether the government has gone too far in its bid to beat the virus outbreak.

In the clip, a medical worker inserts a cotton swab into the mouth of a live fish to test it for Covid.

"Please don't let go of it," the medical worker, dressed in full PPE, tells the local fishmonger handling the animal.

"Don't worry, it won't bite you," the fishmonger responds with a laugh.

The video was picked up by Changsha Broadcasting Station and has gotten more than 2.3 million views on the streaming platform Haokan alone. It has since circulated on several Chinese social media platforms, including China's Twitter-like platform Weibo.

"And what will they do if the test turns out to be positive? Will it have to be put in quarantine?" a Haokan viewer commented. Others said it was a "joke" and a "waste of resources."

Performing a COVID-19 test on a live fish may not be entirely shocking in China, considering how the authorities have attempted to link virus cases to everything from air mail to frozen food. Last November, the port city of Dalian halted its frozen food trade amid a Covid outbreak, and earlier this month, state-owned China Post said that it would test all overseas mail before releasing them for delivery. According to the CDC, there is no evidence that infection can be transmitted via either means.

The fish Covid test comes as Shanghai, a financial hub of 26 million, has seen a surge in virus cases in recent weeks. The city has been split into two along the Huangpu River to allow for mass testing, with residents on both sides of the river in different phases of a strict lockdown.

On Thursday, Shanghai recorded 4,144 asymptomatic cases and 358 symptomatic Covid cases, according to the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission.

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