A health worker on a street takes supplies next to a cabin where tests for Covid-19 coronavirus are taken in the Jing' an district of Shanghai on August 16, 2022. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP)

Even fish caught in the sea have to undergo a corona test in China. Videos of fish having their mouths swabbed with a cotton swab in the port city of Xiamen have sparked a stir and amusing comments on the Chinese internet.

“I’m laughing my ass off,” said one user. “Do fish breathe through their mouths?” someone asked, since Covid-19 is a respiratory disease. “What do you do with a close contact? Quarantine for the fish at sea?” It was also said. “To quarantine camp if they’re positive?”

A representative of the Xiamen Health Department confirmed on Friday the German Press Agency the practice of testing not only the returning fishermen, but also their fish. “Whatever comes in has to be tested.”

Jimei District issued the instruction at the end of July because of the risk of illegal trade with foreign fishermen at sea.: “When fishermen and their catch arrive on land, people and goods must be tested.”

China, where the virus was first detected in December 2019, is pursuing a strict zero-Covid strategy. It has completely sealed itself off. The few travelers who are allowed to enter the country usually have to stay in a quarantine hotel room for seven days – then under observation for three days.

In metropolises of millions, people usually have to be tested every three days. Proof of the negative test in the Corona app on the cell phone is necessary in order to be allowed into shops, markets or your own residential complex at all.

People also have to scan themselves everywhere with the app to enable contact tracing. Anyone who is identified as a contact person or was in a “risk area” must isolate themselves. Anyone who is positive goes to the hospital.

In cases of infection, entire neighborhoods are cordoned off. Despite the sometimes controversial, harsh measures, the most populous country is currently experiencing a larger wave because the latest omicron variant is spreading easily.

The Beijing Health Commission on Friday reported more than 500 new infections and more than 2,000 asymptomatic cases. The tropical island of Hainan is particularly affected. Tens of thousands of holidaymakers are stuck there.