Tags: China | wuhan | china market | virus origin | wild animals

Report: China May Be Hiding Origin of Coronavirus

a computer generated coronavirus image is shown
(Ikon Images via AP Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 13 May 2020 09:45 AM

Evidence is growing that indicates China could be hiding information about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, health experts and officials said in an in-depth report about the disease that has killed nearly 300,000 people worldwide.

The Wall Street Journal spoke with people in China and international experts, who said that although the exact origin of the virus is still unclear, several signs point to an outdoor market in Wuhan, China. What's more, Chinese officials seem to be squashing information that's been discovered about the market.

On Dec. 31, a local team of cleaning professionals was dispatched in the middle of the night to the Huanan market in Wuhan, where they found dead and live animals such as dogs, snakes, rabbits, and badgers — some in freezers — animal waste, blood, and general filth. They took samples and began spraying down the stalls where the animals were being kept with a disinfectant solution.

The team returned the next day with a cleaning mixture that was four times stronger than the one used on Dec. 31.

The results of tests done on the samples have yet to be released. China claims it sent a team from Beijing to the Wuhan market and that it took 585 "environmental samples" from a garbage truck, stalls inside the market, and sewers. Thirty-three of the samples, according to the government, turned in positive tests for the coronavirus.

Roughly four and a half months later, officials in China have yet to disclose what was found at the market, where vendors sell wild animals for both human consumption and medicinal purposes. Animals there are kept in cages and are often slaughtered on-site.

Many reports suggest that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, started in bats and somehow got transferred to humans. Wuhan is believed to be the center of the pandemic that has infected 4.3 million people across the world.

China's National Health Commission told the Journal that it's not the time for finger-pointing.

"The virus should not be linked to any particular country, region or people," the organization said. "Every country in the world should join forces and work together, rather than blaming each other and shirking responsibility."

It's also been suggested that the virus was inside of a Wuhan lab and that it somehow got out, which led to the pandemic. Both the Chinese government and the lab itself deny that.

China has claimed in recent weeks that the pandemic is easing inside of its borders, including in Wuhan. But a handful of new cases in Wuhan prompted officials to say they will test all 11 million of the sprawling city's residents for the virus.

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Evidence is growing that indicates China could be hiding information about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, health experts and officials said in an in-depth report about the disease that has killed nearly 300,000 people worldwide.
wuhan, china market, virus origin, wild animals
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2020-45-13
Wednesday, 13 May 2020 09:45 AM
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