As the world grapples with the deadly coronavirus pandemic, questions abound about when severe restrictions can be lifted amid fears of a second wave of infection. Asked about another deadly spike in the disease in countries that have started to ease their lockdowns, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, warned the world to be on alert.
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She said: “It’s certainly possible.
“What we’re seeing in a number of countries that have been successful in suppressing transmission is that many more people remain susceptible.
“And what we’re seeing in countries like Singapore where they’ve seen almost like a second wave, essentially what it is is actually outbreaks that are happening in expat dormitories and so the virus has found a place where it can take hold and it can resurge again.
“So all countries must remain on alert for the possibility of additional transmission even if they have been successful in suppressing transmission in the first round.”
Ms Van Kerkhove also used her appearance to hit back at accusations from US President Donald Trump that the WHO has been acting as Chin’s PR firm and coronavirus originated in a Wuhan research lab.
The public health expert said the WHO was doing everything it could to inform its member states and people all around the world about the dangers of coronavirus.
She also poured cold water on Trump’s wild theory COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan research lab.
Speaking to the BBC Ms Van Kerkhove was pressed on Trump’s accusations.
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She said: “I can tell you that our teams have been working even before this virus was even identified to do everything we can to inform all our member states and people all over the world about what this virus is.”
The WHO chief also dismissed claims the novel coronavirus had been produced in a Wuhan research lab after Trump claimed to have seen evidence that it did.
She insisted the disease came from animals, citing the fact most emerging pathogens derive from an animal reservoir and everything known about the novel coronavirus points to natural origins.
She said: “Coronaviruses normally circulate in animals. And many coronaviruses are circulating in bats.”
She explained it was normal to see an animal origin for emerging infectious diseases.
She said: “Most emerging pathogens come from an animal reservoir.
“Everything that we have seen about the novel coronavirus, of the tens of thousands of sequences that are available, points to natural origin.
“And it originally comes from bats because the coronaviruses come from bats.”
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China has faced increased scrutiny over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak amid cover-up claims.
Astonishingly, the communist regime has denied the origin of the COVID-19 virus was Wuhan at all, with the UK’s China ambassador refuting the suggestion this week.
Beijing’s chief diplomat in London Liu Xiaoming told the BBC’s HARDtalk: “It was first discovered in Wuhan but I can’t say it originated there because I would leave it to the scientists.
“We cannot say it originated from China. It can be found on aircraft carriers. It can even be found in the submarine.”
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