The World Health Organization (WHO) has ruled out that the first outbreak of the coronavirus had as its epicenter frozen foods imported by China, as defended by the authorities of the Asian country.
“We do not contemplate that the virus was imported to China in these frozen foods”, has underlined the specialist in Food Safety and Animal Diseases of the WHO and president of the research team in Wuhan, Peter Ben Embarek.
This theory was suggested by the Chinese Ministry of Health last week in the voice of its head of the COVID-19 panel of experts, Liang Wannian. As stated, frozen products could function as a transmission surface for the virus from animals to humans.
WHO focuses on farm animals
According to the Danish scientist, the WHO work team has focused on the “Chinese trade in frozen foods and wild farm animals in the south of the country”, from which the virus could have originated by entering the Wuhan market where the first outbreak of the disease was reported.
In this sense, Wannian valued that close to 11,000 blood tests of wild animals from the 31 provinces of the country had been negative, with which he wanted to show that the virus did not originate in China, but was imported from other countries.
The WHO has not ruled out, for the moment, this assumption. “We work with the main hypothesis that an infected person transmitted the virus in the market, but the contagion could have been transmitted through a frozen product “, Embarek declared, highlighting the ability of farm animals to be infected by these types of viruses, as has happened several times with minks.
For his part, the director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, indicated last week that “All the hypotheses about the origin of the disease were still open” although, as Embarek has clarified, the fence is gradually tightening. It is expected that, as the Ethiopian scientist explained, a full report will be released “in the coming weeks.”