‘Highly speculative’ to say COVID did not emerge in China: WHO

‘Highly speculative’ to say COVID did not emerge in China: WHO

Geneva: The World Health Organisation’s top emergency expert says it would be “highly speculative” for the agency to say the coronavirus did not emerge in China, where it was first identified in a food market in December.

China is pushing a narrative via 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 claiming it had been circulating in Europe last year.

“I think it’s highly speculative for us to say that the disease did not emerge in China,” Mike Ryan said at a virtual briefing in Geneva after being asked if COVID-19 could have first emerged elsewhere.

“It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigations where the human cases first emerged,” he added, saying that evidence might then lead to other places.