China news: WHO in U-turn over origin of virus in China – doubts Beijing’s theory | World | News


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WHO investigators have now downplayed the theory the virus entered Wuhan from frozen food – despite not ruling it out last month. According to Vladimir Dedkov from the Pasteur Institute in St Petersburg, Russia and Fabian Leendertz, from Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, it is highly unlikely the virus was originated from cold goods. This represents a change in stance from the team which, at the time of the investigation in China, did not rule out frozen goods entering the city contaminated with the contagion, sparking the global pandemic. 

Now the investigation has ended, the scientists claimed samples of food had been contaminated by humans rather than vice versa.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Dedkov said: “It’s very difficult to imagine a situation where all this contaminated food came to one market in China, and not the biggest one at that, from different countries and it all started from there.

“We aren’t taking it out of consideration but we think it’s very unlikely given the facts we know today.”

His colleague also disputed the theory of the virus originating from a cold source.

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China news: The WHO has doubted China’s theory over the virus (Image: GETTY)

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China news: The team inspected several areas (Image: GETTY)

Instead, Mr Leendertz claimed the true question is where the virus had come from before being transported on cold goods.

He added: “If you transport a virus fresh or frozen, the virus is not born from a piece of plastic.

“It’s about where the virus is from before that. Cold chain is never the source.”

Chinese experts have pushed the theory of the virus originating from a cold source as a way of explaining the outbreak from Wuhan.

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China news: The team finished the investigation last month (Image: GETTY)

Indeed, the WHO refused to rule out the theory last month, despite two members of the team now being more definitive over the matter.

Lead investigator, Peter Ben Embarek said at the time: “We know that the virus can persist and survive in conditions that are found in these cold and frozen environments, but we don’t really understand if the virus can then transmit to humans.”

One Chinese study even claimed to have isolated the virus on the outer packaging of a piece of frozen cod.

The WHO team will release a full report of its finding this month after completing their investigation in February.

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China news: An official inspects passes of the team (Image: GETTY)

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China has diputed the origins surrounding the outbreak (Image: GETTY)

Following the end of the investigation in Wuhan, Washington issued its concern over the early findings.

Not only did National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan claimed the White House had “concerns” over how the communication of the evidence was transmitted.

He added: “We have deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the COVID-19 investigation were communicated and questions about the process used to reach them.

“It is imperative that this report be independent, with expert findings free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government.

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China news: Covid stats as of March 1 (Image: Express)

“To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, China must make available its data from the earliest days of the outbreak.

“Going forward, all countries, including China, should participate in a transparent and robust process for preventing and responding to health emergencies — so that the world learns as much as possible as soon as possible.”

Many states have been sceptical over how the virus originated in China.

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China news: The WHO sent the team to China at the beginning of the year (Image: GETTY)

Under Donald Trump, the US had taken a hardline stance against China’s handling of the virus, and its relationship with the WHO.

Since the team completed its investigation, the WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, claimed all theories remain open.

He has also claimed further analysis is required to identify the origin of the outbreak.





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