The World Health Organisation (WHO) on May 5 urged countries to investigate early suspicious cases of coronavirus after a report emerged claiming that France had COVID-19 case in December, sooner than previously thought. France reported its first coronavirus case in January, however, a hospital in the country has said it retested old samples from pneumonia patients and discovered that it had treated a COVID-19 patient on December 27, three days before China reported the disease to WHO.
WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a United Nations briefing in Geneva that the report gives a whole new perspective on the outbreak and also urged other countries to investigate any other early suspicious cases. "The findings help to better understand the potential virus circulation of COVID-19," Lindmeier said at the briefing. Lindmeier urged countries to investigate pneumonia cases from late 2019 and retest samples as it would show the world a 'new and clearer picture' of the outbreak.
When asked about the origin of the disease, Lindmeier said it is important to explore this. According to reports, scientists have advised the WHO that genome sequencing of COVID-19 shows that it has a natural origin, refuting all claims indicating the disease to be man-made. Health experts believe that the coronavirus originated from a seafood market in China's Wuhan city, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. However, the United States has time and again persisted that the disease may have originated in a Chinese laboratory, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo going as far as to say his country has enormous evidence on that.
Pompeo on May 3 had said that the United States has enormous evidence suggesting that the virus emerged from a Chinese laboratory, without disputing the US intelligence agencies' conclusion that it was not man-made. US President Donald Trump had announced that his administration would halt the funding to WHO accusing the global health body of siding with China amid pandemic and not pressuring the Communist state enough to share full information with the international community.
(Image Credit: AP)