It has been a year since the first officially recognized coronavirus death in China. That Saturday, January 11, since so many things have happened, Wuhan authorities confirmed that the death two days before of a 61-year-old man was due to the mysterious pneumonia detected in the Huanan seafood and wild animal market, which was common. Almost two million deaths later, the origin of this new coronavirus that has stopped the world and changed our lives is still unknown.
At first it was thought that it had started in this fish market where animals, people and dirt coexisted, such as SARS (severe and acute respiratory syndrome caused by another coronavirus) in another “wet market” in southern China in 2002. But 13 of the first 41 confirmed cases were unrelated to the Huanan market..
Faced with international pressure, Chinese President Xi Jinping finally agreed to an on-the-ground investigation in May during the Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO).
To find out its origin, the WHO was finally sending a team of ten experts this month on a six-week mission, including the first two of mandatory quarantine upon arrival in China. But two of the specialists who had already started the trip last week could not enter the country due to a problem with their visas. A new delay that even ‘disappointed’ the WHO Director-General himself, Dr Tedros, widely criticized for his acquiescence with Beijing.
Over the weekend, the deputy director of the National Health Commission, Zeng Yixin, assured that China was “fully prepared and waiting for WHO experts to complete certain formalities and adjust their agenda.” But he clarified that “the exact date they will go to Wuhan and investigate the origin of the coronavirus is being negotiated”, according to the newspaper “Global Times”, speaker of the Communist Party.
While waiting for the issue to be clarified, the United Nations mission remains in limbo and threatened by the calendar. Just a month from now, on February 12, the Lunar New Year begins, when all of China is paralyzed for two weeks for the country’s biggest holiday. And, in March, the annual meeting of the Chinese Parliament is held, which does not seem like an opportune date for the WHO visit either. because it is the most important political appointment of the regime. Added to all this are the outbreaks that have broken out this winter, such as the one that has forced the confinement of the 11 million inhabitants of Shijiazhuang and threatens the mass exodus of the Lunar New Year.
Of the more than ten million tests carried out since Wednesday, 354 positive cases of Covid-19 have emerged and more than 11,700 people have been isolated in 120 “quarantine hotels”, the official press collects. Pending a new round of tests to confirm the control of the outbreak, The latest official count reported 69 new cases of coronavirus in China this Sunday: 48 of local transmission and 21 imported from abroad. Of the locals, 46 were in Shijiazhuang and the other two in the rest of Hebei province, which already registers 139 confirmed patients and 197 asymptomatic. As this region surrounds Beijing, which also suffered small outbreaks last month, the Chinese capital is on high alert.
Meanwhile, the regime continues to try to slip away as the source of the pandemic.
The theory of frozen
For months, Chinese epidemiologists have insisted that the coronavirus did not start in Wuhan. To do this, they take advantage of the studies that have found their antibodies in Italy in September last year and in the United States on December 13, before Wuhan announced their appearance. These studies are not conclusive and the first cases in China date back to November 17, as reported in its day by the newspaper “South China Morning Post” citing official documents.
But such disparity of data has given Beijing ammunition to mount its “frozen theory.” Although the WHO itself does not believe that the coronavirus can be spread by contact with infected surfaces, China blames its latest outbreaks on imports of frozen meat and seafood and suggests that this may have entered the Wuhan market.
“More and more research studies have shown that the pandemic is likely to emerge in many parts of the world,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the highest official to join this theory, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Aware of the damage that the coronavirus has done to the image of China, he recognized that “we are in the front line of the fight for public opinion,” recalled the “mask diplomacy“And opposed” the politicization of the pandemic and labeling the virus. “
Ignoring the initial concealment of information and the delay in recognizing human-to-human infections, he claimed that “we ran to report the epidemic first.” But the World Health Organization is still waiting.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism