Wuhan’s seafood market, believed to be the origin of COVID-19, remains sealed – more lifestyle

The Huanan seafood market in the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, believed by many to be the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, is sealed behind a blue perimeter fence. A big workforce of safety employees chases away anybody who lingers.

“We are just doing our job,” mentioned a guard in black who ordered a Reuters reporter to delete footage recorded close to the market’s primary gates. He recognized himself as a employee from the metropolis authorities’s epidemic prevention and management workforce.

Foreign journalists had been invited on an official tour to report on Wuhan’s efforts to rebuild its financial system after the months-lengthy trauma of COVID-19. The official message: the “heroic city” is again to regular and again in enterprise, its faculties and vacationer websites reopened and its enterprises operating at full capability.

“No other place is as safe as this,” mentioned Lin Songtian, president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, a state-backed group that helped organise the tour.

The location of more than 80% of the nation’s COVID-19 deaths, the central Chinese metropolis on the banks of the Yangtze river has reported no circumstances of native transmission since April, and most of the stringent controls imposed throughout a two-month lockdown have been relaxed.

But Wuhan was accused of performing too slowly in the early levels of the outbreak amid fears of disrupting the financial system or displeasing China’s management in Beijing. Critics say media censorship and the silencing of whistleblowers gave the virus more time to unfold undetected.

Wuhan remains reluctant to enable gentle to be shed on the origins of a pathogen that has killed almost 900,000 individuals worldwide.

The metropolis nonetheless restricts entry to areas like the Huanan market, which was linked to the first recognized cluster of infections in December.

At one other wholesale market in the far north of metropolis, which is open to the public, Reuters was tailed by safety employees and deterred from talking to stallholders and merchants.

“If you don’t allow people to visit these places, you give people the impression you have something to hide,” mentioned Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington who research the politics behind China’s well being points.


China rejects conspiracy theories surrounding the coronavirus, together with claims with out proof {that a} specialist virology institute in Wuhan manufactured it. But many unanswered questions stay about the origins of COVID-19 and the function performed by the commerce in unique wildlife in Wuhan.

Though authorities closed the Huanan market in January, there’s a rising scientific consensus that the virus didn’t originate there. Some research recommend it was already in circulation by the time it reached the market, with more than one transmission route.

“I agree with the general idea that the virus jumped into a human before the Wuhan market,” mentioned David Irwin, professor of medication and pathobiology at the University of Toronto. “They may have been a trader that had been exposed either directly to the virus in a host animal or interacted with farmers or other traders outside of Wuhan.”

China has proven little urge for food for a global enquiry into the origins of COVID-19 or for permitting more scrutiny of its efforts in the early levels of the outbreak, preferring to deal with the nation’s speedy financial and psychological recovery.

“There is no doubt that China has been very successful in containing the virus, so why can’t they be more open?” mentioned Huang. “If you want to dispel those myths… you don’t need to worry about people visiting the market or even the virus institute.”

(This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content. Only the headline has been modified.)

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