The World Health Organization (WHO)'s top emergency expert stated it would be "highly speculative" for the global health agency to say COVID-19 did not emerge in China. The novel coronavirus was first identified in a food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December 2019.
Through state media, China is setting forth a narrative that the virus existed abroad before it was detected in Wuhan. It cited the presence of coronavirus on imported frozen food packaging. China also said scientific papers claimed it had been making its rounds in Europe in 2019.
Meanwhile, a Chinese paper has alleged that the first human transmission could have occurred in India.
"I think it's highly speculative for us to say that the disease did not emerge in China," according to Mike Ryan at a virtual briefing in Geneva upon being asked if the virus could have first emerged beyond China, reported Tibetan Review.
Ryan added, "It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigations where the human cases first emerged. Evidence might then lead to other places," reported Nairametrics.
He underscored that the WHO had intentions to send researchers to the Wuhan food market to further investigate the virus' origins.
Various outlets of China's media have been reporting a number of imported food products from various countries, including a shipment of fish from India, which were found to have traces of COVID-19. They are alleging that the virus may have entered the country through international routes.
According to China Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, "even though China was the first to report coronavirus, it doesn't necessarily mean China is where the virus originated," reported Mid-day.
United States President Donald Trump accused the WHO of being "China-centric." The WHO repeatedly denied the claim.
China has vehemently prevented studies from discovering the respiratory illness's origin. It has effectively prohibited its virologists while sending its trade and diplomatic ties with Australia on a downfall for suggesting to hold an impartial international investigation in discovering the viral disease's origin.
As the WHO declared the start of its anticipated investigation into the source of COVID-19, a paper by Chinese researchers stated a strain could be traced to eight countries from four continents before Wuhan's emergence.
In the wake of the pandemic's advent, the WHO had constituted a team of experts to fly to China and work with their Chinese counterparts to determine the source of the outbreak.
The United States government has been very reproving of WHO how it tackles the global health crisis, accusing the health agency of being complicit and conspiring with China in the mismanagement of the pandemic.
According to Zhao, "So, we believe the origin process is a complex scientific issue, which requires joint efforts on COVID-19 cooperation from the scientific community worldwide. Only by doing so can we guard against future risks because origin tracing is an evolving and sustained process that involves many countries and regions."
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