By David Whitehouse, Al Jazeera, United StatesA mineral water supply in China has been contaminated with bacteria, an Australian company has said, as fears over an epidemic of coronavirus spread.
Minerals Australia (MA) said the company has been monitoring a water source in China where a small number of bacteria have been found, with samples sent to laboratories in New South Wales and Victoria.MA said the bacteria was not linked to any known human health concerns, but added that the company was continuing to monitor for any further contamination of the water supply.
It was unclear how many of the bacteria were linked to the contamination of a water supply supplied by a company in the province of Zhejiang, China.
“Mineralis Australia has been in close contact with the company and is working closely with its regulatory authorities to ensure the best possible protection for the environment and the public,” it said in a statement.
China is in the grip of an unprecedented pandemic with more than 50,000 cases and more than 300 deaths, many of them in the capital Beijing.
The government has declared a state of emergency in a number of provinces, with Beijing imposing a travel ban on foreigners and barring foreign companies from operating in the country.
Mining companies have long faced pressure from China’s state-run companies to supply water, and the government has tightened controls in recent months.
Mina Li, the managing director of the mining and geology consultancy company, says China’s pandemic has prompted the closure of hundreds of mines, which has put a strain on the country’s economy.
“I think the situation in China is not a good one, it’s a bad one.
The mining industry is a very important part of China’s economy,” she said.”
There is a lot of investment and infrastructure being built, so there’s a lot going on.
The government is trying to prevent a situation that would disrupt the mining industry, but it’s not going to work.”
Li says the outbreak of the coronaviral virus in China, which was first detected in the eastern province of Henan in October, has already prompted the country to impose a travel warning on travellers.
The health ministry has confirmed four deaths from coronaviruses in China in the past two weeks, and it has recommended that people limit outdoor activities.
The country has been struggling to contain the outbreak, with the death toll rising to 10,500 in the last two weeks.
Chinese authorities have stepped up surveillance of the population, with thousands of police officers stationed in the cities of Wuhan, Wuhai and Wuhua.
The Chinese government is also investigating a Chinese man who was seen in a photo wearing a mask on social media.
The ministry says it will take further action on the situation once it receives a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization.