09 Feb 2021: No indication of coronavirus in Wuhan before December 2019: WHO
A team of World Health Organization (WHO) probing the origins of coronavirus in Wuhan, China, said on Tuesday that it didn't find any indication of the virus at the epicenter before December 2019.
Peter Ben Embarek, a scientist leading the team, said the visit helped in unearthing new information but it's not enough to "dramatically change the picture of COVID-19 outbreak."
Context: In January, team landed in China to reveal truth
It was last month that a delegation from WHO managed to reach China for an independent probe, more than a year after the disease surfaced. Their earlier planned visit was bulldozed after Beijing, already slammed for covering up the outbreak, didn't give required approvals.
Last week, the United Nations health agency said China has finally granted full access to the fact-finding team.
Statement: There was unreported circulation elsewhere in the world: Official
The Chinese side of the investigation was led by Liang Wannian. At a press conference today, he said, "There is no indication of the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 in the population of the period before December 2019."
He mentioned that there was "unreported circulation" elsewhere in the world, but didn't say where.
Earlier, China made unfounded claims that the virus originated in other countries, like Italy.
Details: Lab leak was dubbed 'highly unlikely' by WHO team
It's important to highlight that the team failed to identify the source of the virus that has killed 2,337,992 globally and sickened 107,059,323 people.
Embarek, who was in WHO's Beijing office for two years, said the team "found evidence of wider circulation outside the Wuhan Huanan market in December 2019."
The team also junked the possibility of a leak in a lab.
Visit: Notably, team spent just one hour at the seafood market
While WHO asserted China cooperated in the probe, reports claimed otherwise.
The team spent just one hour at the seafood market, thought of as the ground-zero. For several hours, the members remained lodged in their hotel rooms, receiving visits from Chinese officials. Journalists were also kept away from the tightly-controlled visit.
The experts, however, managed to spend four hours at the Wuhan Virology Institute.