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Some N.S. seafood shipments affected by travel restrictions in China
HALIFAX -- With Chinese New Year in full swing, things have been busy at Tian Phat Asian Grocery in Halifax. Family-run for almost 30 years, many of the specialized products come from China, although the store deals primarily with North American distributors. Despite an international coronavirus scare, supplies haven't been a problem for the business.
“We're not seeing anything impacting us as of yet,” says daughter of Tian Phat Asian Grocery owners, Christine Tran. “We're not sure what's going to happen in the future, though. I guess we'll see."
The same cannot be said for Nova Scotia seafood, where some shipments are being affected by travel restrictions in China.
The value of any shipment depends entirely on market price, but significant delays could get expensive.
“A 747 freighter, when it's full, can carry about 100 tonnes of seafood,” says Halifax Stanfield International Airport spokesperson, Leah Batstone. “In 2018, the market value of seafood exports from Halifax Stanfield was about $232,000,000.
Some Maritime schools are also on alert. Saint Mary’s University says it’s monitoring the situation closely and taking direction from the province's chief medical health officer. Dr. Robert Strang will teleconference with university officials on Wednesday to address any concerns they have.
In New Brunswick, Education Minister Dominic Cardy, who has been criticized and threatened for pushing a mandatory vaccination bill for students, says coronavirus is a prime example of why it’s needed.
“I mean, the only update, really, is the horrible events around the world that are making it clear, more and more clear, every day why we need to make sure we have full protection against vaccine-preventable diseases,” says Cardy.
Owners of Tian Phat note product substitutions are available from places like Taiwan and Thailand. In the meantime, the focus remains on the ongoing New Year celebration.
“Maybe it's because of Chinese New Year,” says Tian Phat Asian Grocery owner, Lisa Tran. “People are trying to be positive.”
As for flights, there are no direct flights between China and Halifax, but two are scheduled to take place this fall as part of a pilot project announced by the province last year.