Two peer-reviewed articles – published in the journal Science – may give a somewhat definitive answer regarding the origins of the Sars-Cov-2 virus which causes COVID-19.
The research supports the notion that the virus was first contracted by humans at the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan; many previous reports on the origins of COVID-19 have also suggested that the market was the source of the spread of Sars-Cov-2.
However, researchers have previously been puzzled as to why so many of the first reported cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan apparently had no previous direct link to the market.
The Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market. Image via Weibo/@无心简影
Professor David Robertson of the University of Glasgow was one of the researchers who worked on the papers. He told BBC News why the latest research helps to better understand why this is the case:
“Knowing what we know about the virus now, it’s exactly what we would expect – because many people only get very mildly ill, they would be out in the community transmitting the virus to others and the severe cases would be hard to link to each other.”
Robertson added that he hoped previously published research would “correct the false record that the virus came from a lab.”
The first known cases of COVID-19 were reported in Hubei provincial capital Wuhan in December 2019, following which China reported key information about the Sars-Cov-2 virus to the World Health Organization (WHO).
That’s first reported on this “mystery pneumonia” all the way back on January 7, 2020… things were a bit different then.
READ MORE: Mystery Pneumonia Cases Rise to 59 in China
The city of Wuhan later went into lockdown on January 23, 2020 along with the rest of Hubei province. Other places in China imposed heavy restrictions, as and when necessary.
When the virus started to spread overseas, China imposed border restrictions, meaning that anyone entering the Chinese mainland has to undergo quarantine and a series of tests for the virus.
Tracing the origins of the virus has proved to be a politically charged issue at times. Theories have included a lab leak from United States military facility Fort Detrick, a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, transmission via cold food chain and just about everything else in between.
However, the latest research appears to suggest that the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market was in fact the first source of human transmission of the virus.
A view from inside the market. image via Weibo/@原来是念初吖
China has largely controlled the spread of COVID-19 within its own borders with its ‘dynamic zero-COVID’ policy, which seeks to eliminate the spread of the virus rather than “live with it.” Mass testing, quarantine, as well as lockdowns as and when necessary are all key components of said policy.
China looks set to stick with this policy for now. In fact, Wuhan has imposed a lockdown on part of the city just this week… would you believe it?
Despite this, China has shown some signs that it may be moving towards getting back to “normal.”
China’s travel code, used for checking the travel history of people in the country, now only checks the travel history of users over a 7-day period, as opposed to the previous 14-days:
That restrictive star symbol will no longer appear on the Travel Code app:
Moreover, China has further eased restrictions for overseas arrivals into the country, with 7-day centralized quarantine plus 3-day ‘health monitoring’ at home (the ‘7+3’ policy) the norm:
[Cover image via Weibo/@每日经济新闻]