China have insisted that any investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic should not be confined to China, pointing to Spain as an alternative source. The statements came ahead of a World Health Organization “scoping mission” to China next week, to establish a platform to trace the emergence of Sars-Cov-2.
“We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO.
Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist for the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the state-run Global Times: “It does not matter which country the scientific identification work starts with, as long as it involves all related countries and is fairly conducted.” Wang Guangfa, one of the government’s top health advisers, said the WHO should go to Spain.
COVID-19 Origins: China Points Finger at Spain As WHO Searches For The Origin
He referenced researchers in Barcelona who said they detected the presence of COVID-19 in a wastewater sample in March last year, nine months before the outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, central China. Independent experts have been sceptical of this. So far the hunt for information has centred around the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.
Dr. Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance, told The Daily Telegraph he suspected the virus, which most likely originated in bats, was spreading for some time before reaching Wuhan through the wildlife trade.
China has vowed to phase out the slaughter and sale of live poultry at food markets. The announcement came as China stepped up inspections of wholesale food markets and outlawed the sale and consumption of wildlife, after a recent Covid-19 outbreak in Beijing was traced to a major agricultural wholesale market.
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