WHO, China work on coronavirus origin, as deaths near 7 lakh

Updated: 05 August, 2020 08:30 IST | Agencies | Beijing

Scientists think it likely jumped from a wild animal such as a bat to humans via an intermediary species, possibly the anteater-like pangolin

Medical workers in protective suits, accompanied by mourners, bury the body of an elderly man believed to have died of COVID-19 in Mogadishu, Somalia. File pic/AP
Medical workers in protective suits, accompanied by mourners, bury the body of an elderly man believed to have died of COVID-19 in Mogadishu, Somalia. File pic/AP

Even as COVID-19 continues to infect thousands daily across the world and the death toll nears 7 lakh, China and the World Health Organisation work on plans to trace the origin of the novel Coronavirus.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Tuesday said two WHO experts conducted "preparatory consultations on scientific research cooperation on virus tracing" during their two-week stay, which ended on Sunday.

Possible source probed
The two sides investigated the possible animal source, intermediate host and transmission route of the coronavirus to "more effectively prevent and control the epidemic," Wang said. Scientists think it likely jumped from a wild animal such as a bat to humans via an intermediary species, possibly the anteater-like pangolin.

Wang said they worked on formulating a plan for China's contribution to the global tracing effort under a resolution passed by the World Health Assembly under WHO. No word was given on when that effort will begin in earnest.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan late last year and has been linked to a wholesale market where wild animals were sold. China says a full investigation may have to wait until the pandemic is under control.

Both mainland China and Hong Kong reported fewer new cases on Tuesday as strict measures to contain new infections appear to be taking effect. Mainland China reported 36 new cases, down from 43 the previous day.

In Hong Kong, new cases fell into double-digits at 78 after two weeks. Meanwhile, Iran has reported its highest daily count in over a month, reported the Guardian.

Shortage of test kits in Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam's capital city, is facing a shortage of rapid test kits, reported Reuters. The government planned to test over 88,000 people who returned to Hanoi from Da Nang, the epicentre of the new outbreak, but due to the shortage of test kits, only 70,689 have been tested so far. The total count of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam rose to 670 with eight deaths.

Germany already battling second wave; France says situation can get out of control anytime

The French government's scientific committee on Tuesday warned of a second COVID-19 oubreak, reported Reuters. "The situation is precarious and we could at any moment tip into a scenario that is less under control, like in Spain. It is highly likely that we will experience a second epidemic wave this autumn or winter," the committee said. But, if people do not follow the physical distancing measures, then the second wave could return as early as this summer, it added. COVID-19 has infected 1,91,295 people and killed 30,294 in France.

Meanwhile, the head of a doctors' union in Germany on Tuesday said that the country is already battling with a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak, according to Reuters. "We are already in a second, shallow upswing," Susanne Johna, president of Marburger Bund told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper. Germany so far has 2,11,281 cases and 9,156 deaths.

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First Published: 05 August, 2020 07:08 IST

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