The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that it would be highly speculative for the UN health agency to say that the coronavirus disease did not emanate from China, where it was first identified in a food market in December 2019.
According to a report from Reuters, this statement was made by WHO’s Executive Director, Mike Ryan, at a virtual briefing in Geneva, on Friday, November 27, 2020, after he was asked if the coronavirus disease could have emerged outside China.
China, which has tried to dispel the idea that the virus first originated in the country, is pushing a narrative through state media that the virus existed abroad before it was discovered in the central city of Wuhan, citing the presence of coronavirus on imported frozen food packaging and scientific papers.
It claimed that it had been circulating in Europe last year before it was later discovered in China.
Mike Ryan, at the briefing, said, “I think it’s highly speculative for us to say that the disease did not emerge in China. It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigations where the human cases first emerged. Evidence might then lead to other places.”
He still emphasized that the WHO intended to send researchers to the Wuhan food market to probe the virus’s origins further.
What you should know
In the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization had constituted a team of experts to travel to China and work with their Chinese counterparts to identify the source of the virus.
The US government has been very critical of WHO as regards its handling of the health crisis, accusing them of being complicit and colluding with China in the mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic.