China Reveals Genome of Outbreak of Coronavirus in Beijing

What Happened?

China released information on the outbreak of coronavirus that has affected Beijing and this Friday 25 new cases virus cases were reported. As explained by the authorities, “it is an old strain that traveled from its country to Europe and would now be back”.

The capital had returned to a certain normality after two months without infections, but an epidemic rebound last week forced the authorities to impose confinement in several neighborhoods and carry out diagnostic tests on thousands of inhabitants.

“It has Came from Europe”

The origin of the new infections is suspected to be the wholesale market in Xinfadi, in the south of the city. The virus was detected on cutting boards for imported salmon.

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Authorities released new information on the outbreak again on Friday and provided information on the virus’s genome to the World Health Organization (WHO) and foreign scientists.

“According to preliminary results from genomic epidemiology, this virus has came from Europe,” said Zhang Yong, a senior official at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“But it is different from (the strain) of the virus currently circulating in Europe. It is older,” he said in an article published by the national anti-corruption commission.

According to him, it could be a version of the virus that circulated on the European continent several weeks or months ago.

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Zhang Yong is considering several hypotheses: the virus could have come from Europe through frozen food, or it could have been found for a long time in the Xinfadi market, where it would have survived thanks to humidity and darkness. Hence its resemblance to older strains.

“It is possible that the virus currently causing an epidemic in Beijing has traveled from Wuhan to Europe and has now returned to China,” said Ben Cowling, a professor at the Center for Public Health at the University of Hong Kong.

In total, Beijing has registered 183 covid-19 patients to date due to the new outbreak, according to official figures.

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