Origins of the coronavirus: WHO experts visit the market of Wuhan, famous for being the first suspected outbreak of the epidemic.

Steph Deschamps / January 31, 2021

 

World Health Organization (WHO) experts investigating the origin of the coronavirus in China went on Sunday to the Huanan market in Wuhan, the first known outbreak of the epidemic, according to AFP journalists on the spot.

 

The market, which included live wildlife, has been closed since January 2020, and guards have only allowed the vehicles of the WHO investigation group to enter. Having been released on Thursday from a 14-day quarantine, the team began their field investigation on Friday. This visit is politically highly sensitive for Beijing, accused of having delayed reacting to the first cases of Covid reported at the end of 2019 in the huge metropolis of central China. The communist power is almost silent on the subject and Beijing minimizes the scope of the mission of foreign specialists: This is not an investigation, said Friday a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijian, refusing that his country is pointed at. Sunday, the experts did not answer any questions when they arrived at the market. Members of the security services told the journalists in the vicinity to leave. The nationalist daily Global Times published an article a few days ago relativizing the importance of this market in the origin of the pandemic, stating that investigations suggested that it was not the source of the epidemic. The communist government, which was involved in a controversial management during the first weeks of the epidemic, on the contrary boasts its victory over the coronavirus, while the rest of the world seems to be overwhelmed by the epidemic. If China was able to limit the contagion to less than 90,000 cases and the number of deaths to 4,636, according to the official count, the virus has spread across the globe, with a death toll of more than 2 million.

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