China has added a new insult amid the ongoing diplomatic spat with Australia by suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic began with cold-chain storage imports – and linking Aussie beef to the theory.
Scientists generally locate the origin of the virus to a Wuhan wet market.
China has long suggested COVID originated in Europe or the United States months before cases were reported in China.
But in an article published by the Chinese Communist Party-owned Global Times, cold-chain storage of beef imports, it suggests, were potential sources for infection.
“Global Times reporters found from media reports that stores in the Huanan Seafood Market used to sell imported cold-chain seafood, such as king crab and arctic shellfish, as well as meat products from Brazil and Germany,” the article said.
“The city also imported Australian steak, Chilean cherries and Ecuadorian seafood before 2019, according to the information from the website of the city’s commerce bureau.”
Other countries identified as having trade relations with Hubei Province were Canada, Brazil and Spain.
Transmission of COVID on cold-chain storage, where products are stored and shipped at sub-zero temperatures, was earlier feared to have sparked an outbreak in New Zealand.
But the country’s Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield quickly said it wasn’t possible.
“It seems clear now that the possibility is being ruled out from that investigation,” he said in August.
The World Health Assembly in May committed to an independent investigation into the origins of coronavirus after China threw its support behind a probe at the 11th hour.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was a major player in calls for an inquiry, which was formally accepted by more than 130 other countries.
The motion will see an independent review of the global coronavirus response, including the source of the virus and how it was supposedly transmitted from animals to humans.
It was widely believed to have originated in a wet market in Wuhan, in mainland China.