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Upcoming WHO report says COVID-19 leak from Wuhan lab 'extremely unlikely'

ANI | Updated: Mar 29, 2021 22:51 IST

Geneva [Switzerland], March 29 (ANI): A report on the origins of COVID-19 set to be released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday said that it is "extremely unlikely" that COVID-19 leaked from China's Wuhan lab, according to a source with knowledge of the report.

The report finds that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario.

According to CNN, the source said that the report will find that it is most likely that “a bat, somewhere in China or in Southeast Asia, getting the virus into animals into the intermediate house, maybe in these wildlife farms that were very common at the time across South China, and then that getting into the market in Wuhan.”

"The report deems it extremely unlikely that COVID-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab," the source added.

“We just found no real tangible evidence or real leads on that, despite asking a lot of quite hard questions that were asked to the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” the source told CNN.

The report will also find the theory that the virus was imported to China in frozen food is possible, but not the most likely source of the spread, according to the source.

“It is certainly true that this virus can survive freezing and you know it is possible that this could have happened, if you include in that frozen food cold chain pathway frozen wildlife and the type that carries coronaviruses, then it becomes much more plausible. In the end, we came to the conclusion that it is a possible pathway, but not the most likely,” the source said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news conference in Geneva on Monday that all hypotheses into the origins of the novel coronavirus are on the table and warrant complete and further study ahead of a long-awaited report that will be released on Tuesday.

Tedros said the WHO received the full mission report over the weekend on the origins of the SARS-Cov-2 virus from the team that visited Wuhan earlier this year and this report was sent to member states under embargo. He said the two news agencies reporting details of a leaked mission report are only a draft or near final wording of the report.

“After the briefing to the member states, it will be public, it will be on WHO’s website. As you know, the international experts are expected also to hold a press conference after the posting of the report. And we will read the report and discuss, digest its content and next steps with member states,” Tedros said, according to CNN.

However, he cautioned: “All hypotheses are on the table, and warrant complete and further studies from what I have seen so far.”

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Beijing should be transparent about the COVID-19 outbreak and there is a need for "accountability".

Blinken said, "There needed to be accountability" but did not elaborate on what measures needed to be taken while echoed calls from other Biden officials for "Beijing to be transparent about the 2019 outbreak", CNN reported citing sources.

The US diplomat said that the focus should be on building stronger systems for future pandemics.

"I think the issue for us is to make sure that we do everything possible to prevent another pandemic, even as we are working through this one, or at the very least to make sure that we can mitigate in much more effective ways any damage done if something happens in the future," Blinken said on "State of the Union", a show hosted by CNN's chief Washington correspondent.

China has been criticised widely across the world for its alleged role in the spread of the novel coronavirus that has infected over 127 million people across the world. More than 2.738 million people have lost their lives to the virus, as per Johns Hopkins University. (ANI)