‘Extremely Unlikely’ COVID Leaked from Wuhan Lab: WHO-China Team

A WHO official said the probe has uncovered new info but hasn’t dramatically changed the picture of the outbreak.

1 min read
Two members from the WHO team had earlier arrived in China but were denied entry by officials who claimed lack of visa clearance issues. Image used for representational purpose.

There was no evidence found of large outbreaks that could be related to COVID-19 prior to December 2019 in Wuhan or anywhere else, World Health Organisation's (WHO) Ben Embarek said on Tuesday, 9 February, detailing the findings of a joint WHO and Chinese mission that was probing the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

He added that the hypothesis of the virus being leaked from a lab was also ‘extremely unlikely’, noting that when lab accidents happen, ‘they are extremely rare events’, The Guardian reported.

At a briefing, China’s team head Liang Wannian was quoted by AFP as saying, “There is no indication of the transmission of the Sars-Cov-2 in the population, in the period before December 2019.”

However, the WHO representative said that the team did find evidence of wider circulation outside the Wuhan Huanan market in December 2019, adding that the investigation has uncovered new information but has not dramatically changed the picture of the COVID-19 outbreak, reported Reuters.


On the origins of the virus, Liang Wannian told reporters that while transmission from animals was the likely route, so far ‘the reservoir hosts remain to be identified’, AFP reported.

He further expressed that his team regarded the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) to be in a good state in 2019 and that it was ‘very unlikely that anything could escape from such a place’.

(With inputs from The Guardian and AFP)

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