A strain of the coronavirus imported from Europe is most likely to blame for the outbreak in Beijing, WHO believes
A medical worker in a protective suit carries out a nucleic acid test for a resident after a new outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on June 20, 2020 in Beijing, China.
Tingshu Wang / Reuters
The virus sequence that was observed in the recent outbreak in Beijing is most likely related to the European strain, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO Executive Director for the Health Emergency Program, said: "It is most likely said that the disease was likely imported from outside Beijing at some point."
The WHO announcement comes a day after Chinese officials released data showing the gene sequence for the COVID-19 virus that broke out in Beijing's Xinfadi market last week.
A CDC official said that while the virus strain originated in Europe, it appears to be an older version of what is currently spreading across the continent.
Since June 11, more than 200 new cases of the virus have been reported in the Chinese capital. Officials are trying to contain the outbreak as much as possible and have so far tested 2.3 million people.
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World Health Organization (WHO) officials said the coronavirus sequence in the recent outbreak in Beijing is most likely related to the European strain.
At a press conference on Friday, WHO Executive Director for the Health Emergency Program, Dr. Michael Ryan that the outbreak in Beijing appears to be a human-to-human transmission and not another cross-species infection.
Related topics: How do we know that COVID-19 was not made in a laboratory?
"Most likely, the disease was likely imported from outside Beijing at some point," Ryan said, adding, "to determine when this happened and how long the transmission chain is important."
The WHO announcement came a day after officials from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data that revealed the gene sequence of the COVID-19 virus that broke out in Beijing's Xinfadi market last week .
CDC official Zhang Yong said that while the virus strain comes from Europe, it appears to be an older version of what is currently spreading across the continent.
Zhang said of the data: "According to preliminary results from genomic and epidemiological studies, the virus comes from Europe, but differs from the virus that is currently widespread in Europe. It is older than the virus that is currently widespread in Europe."
Experts believe that imported frozen foods that are used on the wholesale market could be contaminated with the virus when packaging or transporting them, according to Sky News.
Yang Zhanqiu, deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told the Global Times: "Regarding the route of virus transmission from Europe to Beijing, it is likely that the virus has remained in imported frozen foods, where it lurked and dark humid environment and then exposed to local market visitors "
Since June 11, more than 200 new cases of the virus have been reported in the Chinese capital. The outbreak was linked to the Xinfadi grocery store in the southwest of the city after traces of COVID-19 were found on several cutting boards.
Beijing officials have tried to contain the new outbreak as soon as possible, to ban tourism between provinces, to close schools and to suspend sporting events.
Since the outbreak, around 2.3 million coronavirus tests have been carried out in the capital with around 20 million inhabitants.
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