All available evidence now available about the origin of the coronavirus indicates an animal origin. Takeshi Kasai, the Western Pacific’s regional director for the World Health Organization WHO, said this during an online press conference this morning.
Scientists believe that the coronavirus has passed from animal to human. The first people infected with the coronavirus were visitors to a large food market in Wuhan city. There, bats, snakes, civets, other wildlife, fish, and seafood are sold in large numbers and often under unsanitary conditions. Animals were also identified as carriers of the virus during the Sars virus outbreak earlier this millennium.
However, according to the World Health Organization, it remains impossible to pinpoint the exact source of the coronavirus. It was previously suggested that bats or pangolins were the sources, but no concrete evidence has ever been found.
Stephen Turner, a microbiology professor at Monash University in Melbourne, tells The Guardian that the virus probably came from bats.
Among bats, many viruses were associated with the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV (such as Sars and Mers). Bats are eaten in China, often from an old superstition that brings good luck. But the professor is not entirely sure that the bat is really the ‘culprit’. He adds that these types of viruses circulate through the animal kingdom more often.
In its press conference, WHO director Takeshi Kasai urged countries to ‘ease the measures carefully and in phases.’ “As long as the coronavirus is circulating, no country is safe from a potentially overwhelming outbreak,” said the Japanese.
According to the World Health Organization, vigilance is required. Everyone has to do their bit to get the virus under control. “Everyone has to adjust their lives, and all health systems need to be overhauled. Until a vaccine or highly effective treatment for the coronavirus is found, this process should become our new normal, ”said Kasai.
The regional director also warned that the epidemic should not interfere with vaccination programs against other diseases such as polio, measles, and rubella. “Otherwise, the Western Pacific, where health systems are already under pressure, may face a new crisis.”
Criticism of WHO
US President Donald Trump announced last week that his government wants to investigate whether it is true that the virus originated in a laboratory in the city of Wuhan (China). Trump also stopped the American payment support to the World Health Organization out of dissatisfaction with how the organization has obscured the seriousness of the outbreak of the virus in China.
Australia, too, argued last weekend that the WHO’s role in the corona crisis should be reviewed.