Chinese state media says 'unlikely' new coronavirus outbreak was caused by animals
People who visited or lived near the Beijing Xinfadi food market were tested for the corona virus after a new outbreak. (AP Photo / Andy Wong)
A researcher has warned that Beijing's coronavirus resurgence stems from food, Chinese media reported.
The Chinese Communist Party newspaper, The Global Times, reports that the likelihood of a new COVID-19 outbreak in the capital by wildlife is "very low".
The corona virus, which, according to Johns Hopkins University, has killed more than 450,000 people worldwide, was first identified in Wuhan. The initial accumulation of cases was attributed to a local fish market.
More than 180 new cases have been officially reported in Beijing last week, many of which have been linked to the large Xinfadi grocery store, which was closed for disinfection.
The virus was found in a sample taken from a cutting board at the market, causing the fish to be pulled off the shelves in a number of Chinese cities.
However, the Global Times reported that Liu Jun, a researcher at the National Institute for Control and Prevention of Viral Diseases, said that seafood may be contaminated, but it is possible that an infected person may visit the market and spread the virus.
Access to the Xinfadi wholesale market was blocked. (Photo by Zoya Rusinova \ TASS via Getty Images)
"There are many options, but the likelihood that the virus will come from wildlife [in Beijing] is very low," he said.
Liu said the cold and wet wet market environment provides ideal conditions for the virus to survive and spread.
Droplets from an infected person's cough can fall to the floor and contaminate places, Liu said.
The outlet added that Liu said, "We cannot conclude that the damp market was the source of the virus just because it broke out."
It has also been reported that the recent outbreak "gives us the opportunity to reexamine our previous speculations that the virus was derived from wildlife."
Scientists see the Wuhan wet market as a source or enhancer of the coronavirus.
Shared apartments around Xinfadi and another market where three people tested positive were blocked - an area of around 90,000 people.
A mass test campaign has been launched to contain the outbreak, in which the number of cases has declined and no new deaths have occurred.
Many anti-coronavirus controls had been relaxed in China.
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