Wuhan’s laboratory worker may have been the first to be infected by covid-19

“One of the likely hypotheses is that an employee was infected while extracting samples. This is where the virus passes directly from the bat to man,” pointed out the head of the first WHO mission in Wuhan.

The head of the first World Health Organization (WHO) mission in Wuhan to discover the origin of covid-19, the Dane Peter Embarek, declared in a documentary on public television in his country that it is “probable” that the virus was born in a laboratory.

“One of the likely hypotheses is that an employee was infected while extracting samples. That’s where the virus passes directly from the bat to the man,” he pointed out, in a documentary shown on Thursday.

Embarek also denounced his team’s difficulties in discussing this theory with Chinese scientists, having only managed to consult a few documents.

The theory that the virus was born in a laboratory was widely promoted by former US President Donald Trump, but his successor, Joe Biden, has also favored this line of investigation.

The report of the first World Health Organization (WHO) mission to Wuhan, published in April, pointed to four possible sources, noting that a laboratory accident was the least likely.

However, the WHO itself began in recent weeks to give greater prominence to that possibility. The organization asked for “space” to continue its investigation after China refused to allow the next phase of the investigation to take place on its territory.

Earlier this Friday, China insisted that the investigation into the origin of covid-19 should be extended to other countries, reiterating that the theory that the virus had leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan is “extremely unlikely”.

“No country has the right to put its political interests ahead of science,” Deputy Foreign Minister Ma Zhaxou said at a press conference.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on China “to be transparent and open” and to provide “raw data about the first days of the pandemic”.

Beijing has repeatedly denied that it withheld information or limited the work of WHO scientists who traveled to Wuhan.

The head of the team of Chinese experts investigating the origin of the new coronavirus, Liang Wannian, indicated that the “next phase of investigations must be carried out in other countries”.

Liang theorized that the virus may have reached the Huanan market in Wuhan, where the first covid-19 outbreak was detected, “through imported frozen foods”.

Official Chinese media launched a full-scale offensive this week to link other countries with covid-19’s origins, including Spain, Italy, France, or the United States.

“If we don’t want to abandon this laboratory theory, we should also investigate other centers, like [US Army laboratory] Fort Detrick, but we believe the WHO report, which considers a highly unlikely leak, should be respected,” he said. Bad.

The Chinese press even quoted a Swiss biologist named Wilson Edwards who denounced the politicization of the pandemic against China, but which the Swiss embassy in China said did not exist.

Chinese state-run media reports cited Edwards’ Facebook account, however, excluded, in which the non-existent biologist criticized the US and WHO for pressuring China to allow further investigation of the laboratory in Wuhan.

Ma’s criticism and the state press offensive come nearly three months after US President Joe Biden ordered the country’s intelligence services to investigate the source of the pandemic, after ensuring that several investigators from the Institute of Virology from Wuhan fell ill in November 2019.

Source: AFP/Lusa

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