China has started a campaign against communal eating amid coronavirus outbreak.
Hot pot, soups or a range of other dishes, campaigners want diners to reconsider the practice of taking food from communal dishes with their own individual chopsticks amid concern it might be helping the virus to spread.
The campaign comes even though the World Health Organization (WHO), China Center for Disease Control and China National Health Commission have remained on the fence about the subject, with the WHO citing lack of direct evidence as the main reason for not issuing any public warning.
“Some pathogens [or] germs can be transmitted by the sharing of utensils,” Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for the WHO said.
“The risk of spreading COVID-19 through sharing of utensils is not yet known, but plausible based on current knowledge.”
Transmission could take place in a variety of ways in such cases, and not only through chopsticks repeatedly used to take food from common dishes.
It’s possible that close proximity of shared living spaces, and frequent contact with contaminated surfaces and so on, shapes communal risk and clustering of disease, and thus these moments of eating and sharing are considered a part of the broader ‘ecology of risk’.