WHO teams visits Wuhan foods marketplace in research of virus clues

WUHAN, China — A Entire world Well being Firm crew seeking into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday visited the food stuff current market in the Chinese city of Wuhan that was linked to several early bacterial infections.

a group of people walking down a street next to a car

© Provided by The Canadian Press

The group users visited the Huanan Seafood Current market for about an hour in the afternoon, and 1 of them flashed a thumbs up indication when reporters questioned how the vacation was likely.

The market was the web page of a December 2019 outbreak of the virus. Researchers at first suspected the virus came from wild animals sold in the market place. The industry has because been largely ruled out but it could give hints to how the virus spread so broadly.

“Very crucial web page visits these days — a wholesale sector first & Huanan Seafood Market place just now,” Peter Daszak, a zoologist with the U.S. team EcoHealth Alliance and a member of the WHO staff, explained in a tweet. “Very informative & essential for our joint groups to comprehend the epidemiology of COVID as it begun to unfold at the close of 2019.”

Earlier in the working day, the staff associates have been also viewed going for walks as a result of sections of the Baishazhou market — a person of the largest moist markets in Wuhan — surrounded by a massive entourage of Chinese officials and representatives. The marketplace was the meals distribution centre for Wuhan in the course of the city’s 76-day lockdown past yr.

The customers, with skills in veterinary medication, virology, foodstuff safety and epidemiology, have so significantly frequented two hospitals at the centre of the early outbreak — Wuhan Jinyintan Healthcare facility and the Hubei Built-in Chinese and Western Medicine Hospital.

On Saturday, they also frequented a museum exhibition focused to the early record of COVID-19.

The mission has come to be politically billed, as China seeks to stay clear of blame for alleged missteps in its early reaction to the outbreak.

A solitary take a look at by researchers is not likely to ensure the virus’s origins. Pinning down an outbreak’s animal reservoir is typically an exhaustive endeavour that takes several years of investigation which include getting animal samples, genetic evaluation and epidemiological research.

Just one probability is that a wildlife poacher might have handed the virus to traders who carried it to Wuhan. The Chinese govt has promoted theories, with little proof, that the outbreak may well have started off with imports of frozen seafood tainted with the virus, a idea roundly turned down by intercontinental scientists and agencies.


Soo documented from Hong Kong.

Emily Wang Fujiyama And Zen Soo, The Associated Press