Wu-Tang Clan or Wuhan? T-shirt ignites new China-Canada tiff

Clay Curtis
February 4, 2021

State media has been cheerleading the idea that the virus may have arrived in Wuhan on frozen food imports or has claimed that Covid-19 has "multiple origins".

The WHO team began its investigation in the Chinese city of Wuhan last Friday.

But questions remain over what the experts can hope to find after so much time has passed.

World Health Organization team member Peter Daszak told reporters that the team was "looking forward to a very productive day and to asking all the questions that we know need to be asked".

The first clusters of COVID-19 cases were detected in Wuhan in late 2019, prompting the government to put the city of 11 million under a strict 76-day lockdown.

But there are no definitive answers so far.

In an earlier tweet, zoologist and team member Peter Daszak praised Wednesday's meetings with staff at the key Wuhan Institute of Virology, including with Deputy Director is Shi Zhengli, a virologist who worked with Daszak to track down the origins of SARS that originated in China and led to the 2003 outbreak.

The team left after around three hours without speaking to waiting journalists.

Police in black uniforms and face masks lined the road to separate the crowds of reporters from the cars. He did not elaborate but said there was no evidence to suggest it emerged from a lab.

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The Wuhan Institute of Virology has collected extensive virus samples, leading to unproven allegations that it may have caused the original outbreak by leaking the coronavirus into the surrounding community.

The previous USA administration of President Donald Trump alleged that the coronavirus leaked from this Wuhan lab, citing its study of bat coronaviruses similar to the new coronavirus.

"We're all aware of the hypotheses around the potential involvement of the lab in this and we're certainly going to ask questions about all of the key aspects of the Wuhan Institute of Virology", the WHO's Peter Daszak told Sky News ahead of the visit.

Experts from the World Health Organization completed a survey of a Chinese lab at the center of the controversy over where the coronavirus pandemic originated.

Other stops include the hospital which treated some of the first coronavirus cases.

Ben Embarek said discussions at the lab were useful to understand the staff's position "in regards to many of these statements and claims that everyone has seen and read about in the news".

"As a diplomat of the Canadian Embassy in China, the person involved has acted inconsistently with his or her status and deviated from the consistent position of the Canadian government", Wang said.

But subsequent checks revealed that none of the gene sequences matched the viruses held by the lab, Shi said, adding: "I had not slept a wink for days".

Some social-media users believed the stylized "W" in the band's name appeared to resemble a bat, a reference to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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