A coronavirus strain from Europe may be to blame for the outbreak in Beijing
- The virus sequence seen in the recent outbreak in Beijing is most likely related to the European strain, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- Dr. Michael Ryan, who is the WHO's executive director of the Health Emergencies Program, said: "What it's saying most likely is that the disease was probably imported from outside Beijing at some point."
- WHO's announcement comes a day after Chinese officials released data showing the gene sequence of the COVID-19 virus that broke out in Beijing's Xinfadi market last week.
- One CDC official said that while the virus strain is from Europe, it seems to be an older version of what is currently spreading across the continent.
- More than 200 new cases of the virus have been reported in the Chinese capital since June 11. Officials are trying to clamp down on the outbreak as much as possible, testing 2.3 million people so far.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
World Health Organisation (WHO) officials have said the coronavirus sequence in the latest Beijing outbreak is most likely related to the European strain.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, WHO's executive director of the Health Emergencies Programme, Dr. Michael Ryan, said the outbreak in Beijing appears to be a human-to-human transmission and not another cross-species infection.
"What it's saying most likely is that the disease was probably imported from outside Beijing at some point," Ryan said, adding that "establishing when that happened and how long the chain of transmission is important."
WHO's announcement came a day after the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials released data revealing the gene sequence of the COVID-19 virus that broke out in Beijing's Xinfadi market last week.
CDC official Zhang Yong said that while the virus strain is from Europe, it seems to be an older version of what is currently spreading across the continent.
Zhang said of the data: "According to preliminary genomic and epidemiological study results, the virus is from Europe, but is different from the virus currently spreading in Europe. It's older than the virus currently spreading in Europe."
Experts believe that imported frozen foods used at the wholesale market could have been contaminated with the virus during packaging or transportation, according to Sky News.
Yang Zhanqiu, deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told the Global Times: "In regard to the route of virus transmission into Beijing from Europe, if confirmed, it is likely the virus remained in imported frozen food where it lurked in dark and humid environment and then exposed to local visitors to the market."
There were more than 200 new cases of the virus reported in the Chinese capital since June 11. The outbreak has been linked to Xinfadi food market in the southwest of the city after traces of COVID-19 were found on several chopping boards.
Beijing officials have tried to clamp down on the new outbreak as swiftly as possible, banning inter-provincial tourism, shutting down schools, and suspending sports events.
Since the outbreak, around 2.3 million coronavirus tests have also been conducted across the capital, which has a population of approximately 20 million people.
Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.
Get the best of our site emailed to you daily: click here.
Also from Business Insider South Africa:
- UIF coronavirus payouts: Companies in revolt with 725,000 workers left unpaid
- We tried the new Cremora liquid 'milk' - and it was surprisingly good
- From next year trucks on the N3 could save 25% on fuel thanks to LNG – but motorists can’t have any
- People who believe wild coronavirus conspiracy theories rely on YouTube for most of their information on the pandemic
- More than 25% of tenants are not paying rent – but that’s actually not as bad as predicted
- Here are the official rules for legal hair cuts, manicures, or tattoos