WHO dismisses as ‘highly speculative’ claim that Coronavirus did not emerge in China 

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WHO dismisses as ‘highly speculative’ claim that Coronavirus did not emerge in China. (Photo courtesy: TBGF)

(TibetanReview.net, Nov28’20) – The World Health Organization’s top emergency expert has sought to set the record straight by saying Nov 27 that it would be “highly speculative” for the WHO to say the novel coronavirus did not emerge in China, where it was first identified in a food market in Dec 2019, reported Reuters Nov 27. Meanwhile a Chinese paper has, claimed that the first human transmission may have occurred on the Indian subcontinent.

This WHO expert’s clarification followed China’s move to push a narrative via its official media that the virus existed abroad before it was discovered in the central city of Wuhan, citing the presence of coronavirus on imported frozen food packaging and scientific papers claiming it had been circulating in Europe last year.

“I think it’s highly speculative for us to say that the disease did not emerge in China,” Mike Ryan has said at a virtual briefing in Geneva after being asked if Covid-19 could have first emerged outside China.

“It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigations where the human cases first emerged,” he has added, saying that evidence might then lead to other places.

He has repeated that the WHO intended to send researchers to the Wuhan food market to probe the virus origins further.

China has strenuously prevented any study to find out the disease’s origin, effectively imposing a ban on its own virologists while sending its trade and diplomatic ties with Australia on a downward spiral for suggesting that there be an impartial international investigation to find out the viral disease’s origin.

Meanwhile, as the WHO announced the start of its much-awaited investigation into the source of the coronavirus causing the Covid-19 disease, a paper by Chinese researchers said a strain can be traced to eight countries from four continents before the Wuhan outbreak, reported scmp.com Nov 27.

That paper was reported to claim that the first human transmission may have occurred on the Indian subcontinent, but other scientists have questioned this finding.

The report pointed out that the conflict was not about where the virus was officially detected and identified in a human population; for that place was the city of Wuhan in central China, last December. The question was not whether it “appeared” in Wuhan, but whether it “originated” in Wuhan, it sought to explain.

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