It is too early to draw any conclusions about whether COVID-19 originated in China, the World Health Organization (WHO), which is on a mission to the country, said on Friday.
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“All the assumptions are on the table. It is clearly too early to come to a conclusion on where this virus originated, whether in China or outside China, ”said WHO director of health emergencies, Michael Ryan, during a press conference in Geneva.
“There are different (…) scientific observations in different parts of the world,” he continued, “it is a big puzzle and you cannot have a big picture by looking at one of the 10,000 pieces of ‘a puzzle”.
A team of WHO experts arrived in Wuhan on January 14 to begin investigating the origins of the deadly new coronavirus, the first cases of which were detected in late 2019 in this city in central China.
The members of the mission had been transported upon their arrival in a hotel to observe a quarantine of two weeks. Since then, they have been working remotely and once quarantine is over they should be able to go to sites and meet their Chinese contacts.
China has repeatedly hinted that the virus has emerged outside its borders.
It has so far killed over two million people around the world, infected tens of millions and hit the global economy hard.
“Our team is in the field, the work with our Chinese colleagues is going well. We’re looking at the data, ”Ryan said. “It is too early to come to any conclusions, but we feel that we are making a little progress and we hope to continue doing so in the interest of public health and the future.”