WHO experts visit Wuhan market, alleged epicenter of coronavirus


Published: 2021-01-31 16:38

Last Updated: 2024-06-14 08:43

Photo: The Japan Times
Photo: The Japan Times

The World Health Organization (WHO) team of experts investigating the sources of the COVID-19 pandemic visited a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan Sunday, which was originally thought to be epicenter of the virus in China.

Since January 2020, the Huanan Seafood Market, where live wild animals were sold, has been closed, and guards have allowed entry only to the cars of the WHO investigators team.

After the investigators were released from a 14-day quarantine Thursday, they began their field investigation Friday.

The Chinese Communist regime is almost silent about this visit, and Beijing belittles the task of foreign experts.

"It is not an investigation," said a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, refusing to point the finger at his country.

Sunday, the experts did not answer any questions upon their arrival at the sprawling market, and one of them raised the windows of their car when a reporter asked him what was expected from the visit.

The security forces asked the journalists in the vicinity of the market to leave and one of them rocked a long ladder on which a photographer was sitting to take better photos.

- 'Very important sites' -

One expert, Peter Dazak, wrote in a tweet that the WHO team had "visited very important sites, the wholesale market and now the Huanan seafood market."

The head of the US-based "EcoHealth Alliance" organization, which specializes in disease prevention, added, "It is very useful and essential for our joint teams to understand the epidemic spread of Covid, how it began to spread at the end of 2019."

A few days ago, the national "Global Times" newspaper published an article undermining the importance of this market in determining the source of the epidemic, stressing that "investigations" indicate that it is not the origin of the virus.

However, the newspaper wrote Sunday that "it cannot be excluded (...) the possibility that the Corona virus arrived via products from the cold chain in Wuhan, more specifically, to Huanan Market."

The Chinese authorities initially said that wild animals that were sold at Huanan Market were the possible source of the epidemic.

However, since then, official media have indicated that the virus may have originated outside the market, raising the possibility that the disease was transmitted to Wuhan.

There is no scientific confirmation about the source of the disease, but it is true that it may not have originated in Huanan market, especially because the virus takes a long time to mutate before it becomes very contagious. However, it was already highly contagious when its discovery was announced in December 2019.

Read more: After quarantine, WHO experts begin Wuhan investigation