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The Latest: WHO says Beijing virus likely a European import

Associated Press By Associated Press | 3 months ago

LONDON — The emergencies chief of the World Health Organization has confirmed that China shared coronavirus sequences from its latest outbreak with the global community and says it appears the virus was imported to Beijing from strains circulating in Europe.

At a press briefing on Friday, Dr. Michael Ryan noted that “strains and viruses have moved around the world” throughout the pandemic. Ryan said that many viruses in New York “were of European origin” but that doesn’t mean Europe necessarily was the original source.

He says analysis of the genetic sequences so far suggests that the virus spread to people in China from other humans instead of jumping from animals directly into humans.

Ryan called for a detailed investigation into the recent Beijing outbreak to determine how the imported cases sparked such a large cluster.

After the new coronavirus was first detected in people in Wuhan in late December, officials guessed that it likely jumped into people from a wildlife market, although the species responsible has never been identified.