A goods train departed Wuhan loaded with 294.42 tonnes of anti-epidemic supplies such as masks, protective suits, goggles, and medical devices. The train will reach its destination Belgrade in 18 days.
A China-Europe freight train loaded with 294.42 tonnes of anti-epidemic supplies such as masks, protective suits, goggles, and medical devices, on Saturday left Wuhan heading for Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. The cargo will arrive in Belgrade in 18 days. pic.twitter.com/KhiKknImEn— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) May 9, 2020
Wuhan is the origin of the coronvirus and reported the first case in December 2019. Since then, the virus has spread across the world, bringing it to a standstill. The health crisis quickly turned into an economic crisis and later, a humanitarian crisis since millions of businesses have stopped, leading to unemployment. Multiple businesses, big and small have filed for bankruptcy. People have been left homeless and stranded because transportation facilities have ceased as well.
China has been under increasing global pressure for not informing the global community about the threat of the virus and various leaders have also accused China of allowing the spread of the virus while hoarding anti-Covid materials, also alleging that the virus really originated in a lab in Wuhan.
USA has been at forefront of these allegations, with President Donald Trump also heavily and repeatedly criticising the World Health Organisation (WHO) of complicity. President Trump, last month, announced a withdrawal of US' funding of WHO. Tensions between USA and China have only increased in recent months as their leaders continue to trade barbs over handling of the pandemic that has crippled economies worldwide.
China’s state-owned Global Times newspaper has said leaders were making groundless accusations against Beijing by suggesting the coronavirus was released from a Chinese laboratory. The populist tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily said the claims were a politically motivated attempt to preserve Trump’s presidency and divert attention from the U.S. administration’s own failures in dealing with the outbreak.
On Friday, WHO scientist, Dr. Peter Ben Embarek stated that the Wuhan market had role in virus outbreak, but more research is needed. Dr. Embarek - who is a WHO expert on food safety and zoonotic viruses, has stated that while the role was clear, its exact role is not yet known. This is the first statement in which WHO has openly admitted the role of China's Wuhan market in the spread of the pandemic.
“The market played a role in the event, that’s clear. But what role we don’t know. Whether it was the source or amplifying setting or just a coincidence that some cases were detected in and around that market,” said Dr Peter Ben Embarek in a press briefing.
He added, "Food safety in these environments is rather difficult and therefore it's not surprising that sometimes we also have these events happening within markets". According to Ben Embarek, it might take considerable time to identify the original animal source for the new coronavirus. Embarek said while China likely has the necessary expertise to conduct such studies and has not noted any problems in China's willingness to collaborate with others.
(Image credit: twitter.com/PDChina)