‘First Covid-19 cases in Wuhan may be linked to imported food’

People ride bicycles on a street in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on September 29,2020, as the city continues its return to normality after being ground zero for the COVID-19 coronavirus earlier this year. (Photo by STR/ AFP)/ China OUT

BEIJING: The possibility that the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province, was caused by imported seafood contaminated with the coronavirus cannot be ruled out, a top public health researcher said.

Although the earliest cases in Wuhan were linked to a seafood market in the city, experts have said that did not prove the virus originated from the market.

In a report published yesterday by Global Times, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said since the Covid-19 outbreaks in recent months in Beijing and the port cities of Dalian, Liaoning province, and Qingdao, Shandong province, were caused by imported seafood, people should think about new approaches to tracing the earliest cases linked to the seafood market in Wuhan.

Earlier this month, China CDC said it had isolated live coronavirus from a package containing imported frozen cod when tracing an outbreak in Qingdao, which proved that the virus could survive in cold chain storage over long distances and infect humans.

But the newspaper cited an anonymous virus expert as saying that one puzzle which needed to be answered about the possibility that the coronavirus was introduced to China from overseas was why it had not caused outbreaks in its place of origin. — China Daily/ANN

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