A Chinese state media outlet suggests that the coronavirus, which caused the pandemic infecting 67 million and killing 1,54 million, arrived in Wuhan via imported frozen food from countries including Australia.
An article in the government-controlled Global Times published an article on Sunday, which claims that “the possibility that the coronavirus was passed on from cold-chain products into Wuhan, cannot be ruled out.”
“As the mounting sporadic outbreaks in China were found to be related to imported cold-chain products, with other parts of the world, including Europe and the American continent, reportedly discovering signs of the coronavirus earlier than Wuhan, it begs a new hypothesis – did the early outbreak in Wuhan originate from imported frozen food?” the article suggested.
Beijing had been advocating the theory since October after experts found living coronavirus samples imported frozen cod in Qingdao city.
Earlier, Chinese officials claimed to have detected coronavirus on frozen products including chicken wings from Brazil, squid from Russia, shrimp from Ecuador, pork from Germany and salmon from Norway.
“More and more evidence suggests that the frozen seafood or meat products probably spread the virus from countries with the epidemic into our country,” said Chinese epidemiologist Wu Zunyou in an interview.
“The idea never crossed our minds before, but now it seems plausible that the virus may have been imported to Wuhan via imported cold-chain products,” Wuhan University disease researcher Yang Zhanqiu backed.
However, Western scientists have dismissed the theory as “highly speculative”, and suggests that the virus was more likely passed from bats to other animal species and then to humans in Wuhan.
The World Health Organization had also said that there is no evidence of the virus being transmitted via imported frozen products.
The news comes amid escalating political and economic tension between Australia and China, after Beijing imposed a 212% tariff on Australian wine products, as well as sharing doctored propaganda images referencing war crimes allegations against Australian troops in Afghanistan.