BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese port city Dalian has ordered all businesses handling imported chilled and frozen foods to suspend operations after an outbreak of COVID-19 that began last week.

The city on China’s northeast coast has reported more than 80 COVID-19 cases over the past week, with the first in a warehouse worker in the Zhuanghe area of the city on Nov. 4.

Local authorities issued the order on Monday, state-backed newspaper Global Times reported on Thursday.

Unlike other countries, China says frozen foods pose a risk of spreading COVID-19 and authorities reject goods from overseas if the virus is detected on packaging, even though the World Health Organization says neither food nor packaging is a known transmission route.

Dalian is a leading port for seafood shipments as well as fruit and some meats.

The suspension covers third-party cold storage facilities, bonded warehouses, food production companies and cold storage used by the catering sector, according to a notice posted on local industry websites that could not be verified by Reuters.

Dalian’s food sector also faced heavy disruption last year after authorities issued new requirements for cold storage warehouses because of the risk of the coronavirus entering the country on imported foods.

(Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by David Goodman)