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Monday, September 21, 2020

Lies debunked: Reality check of allegations against China on Covid-19

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In the past few months, politicians from certain countries, along with some irresponsible media outlets, have been fabricating preposterous allegations and lies, to shift the blame to China for their own inadequate response to Covid-19, causing much confusion to the public and damaging China’s image. In response, China’s Foreign Ministry published reality check to those allegations, to have facts speak for themselves. The following are contents excerpted from the published document, to debunk six of the most widespread lies.

1. Allegation: Covid-19 is “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus”, and Wuhan is the origin of the virus.
Reality Check: WHO has made it clear that the naming of a disease should not be associated with a particular country or place. Meanwhile, being the first to report the virus does not mean that Wuhan is its origin.

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? On 11 February 2020, WHO, on the basis of the 2015 Best Practices for the Naming of New Human Infectious Diseases as well as international public health practices, officially named the pneumonia caused by novel coronavirus the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19).

? Historically, the place that first reported a virus were often not its origin. For example, HIV infection was first reported by the US, yet it might also be possible that the virus did not originally come from the US. And more and more evidence proves that the Spanish Flu did not originate from Spain.

? Source tracing is a scientific matter. At the moment, scientists around the world are searching for the source of the virus, and have presented many academic views on it.
? Viruses are the common enemy of mankind, which may appear at any time and in any place. Epidemics are natural in origin, not man-made. The origin of a virus or epidemic is a victim, not a culprit. It is unfair and unacceptable to blame it or hold it accountable.

2. Allegation: The virus was constructed by the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Covid-19 was caused by an accidental leak from the its laboratory.Reality Check: All available evidence shows that the virus is natural in origin, not man-made. The WIV does not have the capability to design or synthesize a new coronavirus, and there is no evidence of pathogen leaks or staff infections in the Institute.

? On 19 February, The Lancet published a joint statement by 27 leading medical experts from eight countries, indicating that scientists from multiple countries have published and analyzed genomes of SARS-CoV-2, and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.

? On 17 March, five prominent scholars from the US, the UK and Australia pointed out on Nature Medicine that evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.
? On 30 April, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence of the US issued a statement on its official website making clear that the Intelligence Community concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the Covid-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified.

? Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme Michael Ryan said on 1 May that numerous scientists have looked at the genome sequence of this virus and we are assured that this virus is natural in origin.
? The Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory (Wuhan P4 Laboratory) in the WIV is a government cooperation program between China and France, with its design, construction and management all following international standards, and operations protected by special facilities and strict protocols.

? Operations of the Laboratory have all along been safe and stable. There had been no SARS-CoV-2 in the lab until 30 December 2019 when the first Covid-19 patient specimens were delivered there for testing three days after the local government received first reports of the virus. No one in the WIV has so far been infected by Covid-19.

? Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with National Geographic published on 4 May that the best evidence shows the virus was not made in a lab in China. If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, the virus could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated. This virus evolved in nature and then jumped species.

3. Allegation: The Chinese contracted the novel coronavirus while eating bats. China is reopening wildlife markets. It should immediately close all “wet markets”.
Reality Check: Bats are never part of the Chinese diet. There are no so-called “wildlife wet markets” in China. China has passed legislation banning all illegal hunting and trade of wild animals.

? The Internet video clip in which a Chinese female tour guide drinks bat soup was part of a travel promotion show filmed by her team on a small Pacific island in 2016 and was posted online that year. Bat soup was a local specialty.
? Bats are never part of the Chinese dishes. Wuhan Huanan seafood market, where cluster cases were identified in the early days of the epidemic, does not sell bats.
? Selling wild animals is illegal in China. Such an act will be immediately stopped once discovered, and will be punished in accordance with law.

? There are no so-called “wildlife wet markets” in China. And in fact, China does not even have the concept of “wet markets”. What exist in China are farmers’ markets and live poultry and seafood markets. They sell fresh fish, meat, vegetables, seafood and other farm produce. A few of them sell live poultry. Basically, they are no different from the fish markets or fruit and vegetables markets in Western countries. Such markets exist not only in China, but also in many other countries. They are an important part of local life. No international law restricts the opening or operation of such markets. What were reopened in Wuhan are these traditional farmers’ markets.

Source: Chinese Embassy in The Gambia

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