China To Speak On Covid-19 Origins In Pretoria

Chen Xiaodong, Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, will on Monday speak about the origins of Covid-19.

As many as 216 million Covid-19 cases have been recorded worldwide with 4,5 million people succumbing to the disease.

Fingers of blame have been pointed at China, with accusations that the virus may have originated from wet animal markets in Wuhan.

Markets that sold animals — some dead, some alive — in December 2019 have emerged as a probable source of the coronavirus.

Earlier this year in March a major investigation organised by the World Health Organization (WHO) looked into the possibility that the virus originated in Wuhan.

Although the WHO report has not been released yet, the Chinese Ambassador to South Africa will on Monday speak on the matter.

On Friday, the US intelligence community said it was divided over the exact origin of Covid-19.

“All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident,” the nation’s 18 intelligence agencies wrote in an unclassified report.

The Chinese embassy in Pretoria said on Monday Xiaodong will hold a virtual media briefing to address the contentious matter of Covid-19 origins.

“As the pandemic continues to ravage different parts of the world, there has been growing calls and evident action of nations across the globe working together to counter the scourge,” said the Chinese embassy.

“However, in total disregard of the overall international cooperation against Covid-19, the United States has heightened its ongoing global campaign, exploiting the Covid-19 origin tracing for political manipulation.”

Scientists say it is important to understand the origin of the virus for three key reasons.

Firstly, If the source is still out there, future reintroduction of the same virus into the human population can be prevented.

The second reason is that if we understand how this virus jumped from bats to humans, similar events can be prevented in the future.  

And the third reason is that if scientists can find out what the virus looked like before it jumped to the human population, they could develop more efficient treatments and vaccines for this disease.

All eyes and ears will be on Pretoria on Monday when Xiaodong elaborates on China’s position on the origins of the virus and related issues.