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Global Times

Source of Tianjin coronavirus case still unclear as investigations continue

Global Times

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/20 13:14:28

Virologists said on Friday night that the source of COVID-19 case revealed on Wednesday in North China's Tianjin Municipality is still unclear after three potential sources of infection were rejected in the current investigation, as further tracing continues.

The patient was very likely to have been infected by anyone entering China with the virus or someone coming from high-risk areas such as Beijing, said Zhang Ying, deputy director of the Tianjin Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who was in charge of sourcing the virus. But the entire search revealed no contact between the case and people entering the border or from other high-risk areas in Beijing.

Another possibility was that the virus may arise from contaminated frozen food as the patient had cleaned frozen seafood in a local hotel. However, the nucleic acid tests on all meat and aquatic products stored in the hotel have so far been negative. Samples from three local wholesale markets from which the hotel purchased foods also tested negative.

The case may also be contaminated in the infected environment. However, the environmental samples also tests negative so far.

The source of the infection in this case has not been found at present, Zhang said. But the work did not stop.

The virus has been sent to China CDC to sequence the genetic code of the virus to find the connection this virus has with virus strains found in other areas, and the result will be used to further trace the source.

The case of unknown origin has triggered public concern in the city, but virologists remind people not to panic as all close contacts of the patient have been quarantined and all their tests have returned negative.

Cases with an unknown source must be taken very seriously, and infectious diseases must be traced to their source, China's leading medical expert Wang Guangfa, said on his Sina Weibo on Saturday, urging authorities in Tianjin to ensure that every step is followed throughout the sourcing of the virus in Tianjin.

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