The thesis, which has been widespread again and again by China, that the coronavirus may have been introduced from abroad via frozen food in 2019 is off the table for experts from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Peter Ben Embarek made this clear on Thursday in Geneva. He led the WHO-appointed team of experts to investigate the origin of the pandemic, which traveled to China in January. The hypothesis that the virus might have been introduced into China via frozen food at the time is “not something that we look at,” said Embarek.
The head of the Chinese scientists in the team, Liang Wannian, presented the Chinese theses with frozen products that had been propagated for months at a press conference at the end of the trip on February 9th.
According to Embarek, the question arises as to whether the virus was newly introduced into China via frozen foods last year – at a time when the virus was spread around the world and there were outbreaks in food factories, but it was practically wiped out in China . But something like that would be an extremely rare phenomenon, he emphasized. Despite an intensive search, the Chinese colleagues found very few products contaminated with viruses.
In 2019 the situation was completely different. At that time, the virus was not spread around the world and there were no outbreaks in food factories in other countries. “So the hypothesis that the virus was imported into China this way is not something that we’re looking at,” he said.
Rather, the local trade in frozen products that were traded on the Huanan market will be examined. One question is whether the virus came onto the market from southern China – many frozen products that were traded there came from southern China, according to Embarek.