A wholesale market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan played a role in the outbreak of the novel coronavirus last year, as the source or possibly as an “amplifying setting”, the World Health Organization said on Friday, calling for more research.
Chinese authorities shut down the market in January as part of efforts to halt the spread of the virus and ordered a temporary ban on trade and consumption of wildlife.
“The market played a role in the event, that’s clear. But what role we don’t know, whether it was the source or amplifying setting or just a coincidence that some cases were detected in and around that market,” said Dr Peter Ben Embarek, a WHO expert on food safety and zoonotic viruses that cross the species barrier from animals to humans.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said there is “a significant amount of evidence” the virus came from the Wuhan laboratory, although he has also said there wasn’t certainty.
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