WHO Reports Covid-19 ‘In Circulation In Other Regions Of China Before Wuhan Outbreak’ At Press Conference.
THE VIRUS that causes Covid-19 could have been circulating in other regions of China “several weeks” before it was identified at an outbreak at a wet market in Wuhan, a team of World Health Organisation investigators announced today from a news conference held in Wuhan, China.
The WHO team said there was no evidence of large outbreaks before December 2019 but that the virus was in circulation in other regions. Investigators have had nearly a month of meetings and site visits in Wuhan, where the disease was first identified, and have now ruled out a lab leak and said it may have been imported into the Chinese city in frozen meat.
Saying their findings show claims the virus came from a lab are “unlikely”, the WHO investigative team has said that an animal intermediary is the most likely source of SARS-CoV-2 – although it still remains unclear exactly which animal it came from.
The team arrived in Wuhan on January 14 and after two weeks of quarantine, visited key sites like the Huanan seafood market, the location of the first known cluster of infections, as well as the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been involved in coronavirus research.
They have said it is still not clear what the animal source of the virus is, but that more study is needed to determine whether it came from pangolins or bats. Bats and pangolins are potential candidates for transmission but coronavirus samples found in those species are not identical to Sars-Cov-2, the press conference was told.
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