Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks

People's Daily: A dozen of international experts who were on the joint China-WHO mission have recently published an article in Nature, proposing priorities for the next phase of origins study, including looking for early COVID-19 cases in all regions in and outside China that have the earliest evidence for SARS-CoV-2 circulation, and conducting antibody surveys in these regions to identify places with infections unobserved through disease reporting. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: We agree with the views of these international experts. China holds that international cooperation should be earnestly conducted in pursuing the next phase of science-based origins study in countries and regions across the globe guided by scientific evidence. In March this year, the joint report released by Chinese and WHO experts clearly states that a global perspective is needed to carry out future origins tracing work in multiple countries and regions instead of just one area.

With continued research on the novel coronavirus by scientists in many countries, test results have shown that the virus emerged in many localities earlier than dates previously known.

Openly-available information shows that a urine sample collected on September 12, 2019 from a measles patient in Italy tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The sequencing result has been uploaded to open databases.

A SARS-CoV-2 in situ hybridization reaction was detected at multiple parts on the skin biopsy of an Italian female patient who reported dermatosis disease in November 2019.

Fragments of genetic material from the virus were found in a sewage sample collected on November 27, 2019 in the Brazilian city of Florianopolis.

Altogether 106 blood samples taken in nine US states between December 13, 2019 and January 17, 2020 tested positive for antibodies.

Seroprevalence of neutralizing antibodies in France increased in mid-December 2019.

A throat swab of a French patient with hemoptysis from December 2019 tested positive for novel coronavirus RNA.

Waste water samples collected in Barcelona of Spain from January 2020 tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Nine out of 24,079 blood samples from 50 US states taken between January 2 and March 18, 2020 were seropositive.

Testing of 624 white-tailed deer blood samples collected in northeastern US states between 2019 and March 2021 turned up antibodies in one sample from 2019, three samples from 2020, and 152 from 2021. All infected deer showed no sign of sickness.

The list goes on. It shows strongly that there is every reason to conduct origins study in multiple localities, a point that must be given full emphasis in the following origins research.

China has been conducting continuous origins research at home based on the recommendations in the joint report. We hope countries where earlier evidence has been found will take prompt actions, and follow China's example by inviting WHO experts for scientific research on the ground so that together we can solve the mystery of the origins of the virus.

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