Chinese officials have suggested coronavirus originated in Spain before it was discovered in China.
The claim comes days after the Word Health Organisation (WHO) said it would send a team to China on a “scooping mission” to establish the emergence of COVID-19, which has long believed to have come from a wet market in Wuhan.
Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told the state-run Global Times that other countries should be investigated as an original source.
China’s health experts have pointed to Spain, where the deadly virus was found in a waste water sample collected in March last year.
"Identifying the source of the coronavirus must be based on negotiations and involve multiple countries.
"It does not matter which country the scientific identification work starts with, as long as it involves all related countries and is fairly conducted," Mr Zeng said.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference on Monday their team will work on trying to understand how the virus began and prepare for the future.
"We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started,” he said.
Wang Guangfa, a respiratory expert at Peking University First Hospital who was a member of the WHO-China joint expert team in February, echoed Mr Zeng’s comments and called China “a link in the virus transmission chain”.
The Global Times also stated “US and Australian politicians including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have, without any proof, repeatedly blamed China for causing the coronavirus pandemic and accused a Wuhan lab of leaking the virus.”
WHO has not confirmed the origins of the virus.
John Hopkins University have reported over 525,000 deaths worldwide and more than 11 million confirmed cases since the pandemic began.
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