Head of China's CDC claims he never said coronavirus is not contagious

‘I have never said there is no human-to-human transmission’: Head of China’s CDC refutes accusation that Beijing lied about the coronavirus

  • Gao Fu, Director of China’s CDC, defended Beijing’s handling of the outbreak
  • He said his team would need evidence of transmission before telling the public
  • Chinese officials confirmed the virus can spread among people on January 20
  • Beijing has been accused of providing misleading information on coronavirus 
  • Western leaders have urged China to be transparent about the virus’s origin
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

The head of China’s CDC has claimed that he had never said there was no human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus as he defended Beijing’s handling of the pandemic.

The Chinese government has been accused of providing misleading information in the early days of the crisis after it stressed no evidence suggested the virus could spread among people.

‘I have never said… there is no human to human transmission in public… never ever,’ Dr Gao Fu, Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told state media.

Gao Fu, Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told state media CGTN that no scientists would be able to make a definite call about a virus without evidence

COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has killed 4,632 people and infected 82,758 in China, according to the latest figures from its National Health Commission. The picture, taken on February 16, shows medical workers treating a COVID-19 patient in Wuhan, China

https://youtube.com/watch?v=q2PmAGvTCEQ%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

Dr Gao, 58, made the comment while speaking to CGTN, the English-language arm of state broadcaster CCTV.

His statement comes as China claimed that more than 94 per cent of its coronavirus patients had recovered from the deadly disease.

It also comes as Chinese researchers said one of its coronavirus vaccine candidates was proven to be effective and safe on animals.

Dr Gao, who obtained his PhD from Oxford University, argued that no scientists would be able to make a definite call about the nature of a virus without evidence, especially when the pathogen is new.

The pandemic first emerged in Wuhan in December. Experts believe the virus was passed onto humans by wild animals sold as food at a wet market in Wuhan, called Huanan. Workers wearing protective suits are pictured walking next to the Huanan market on March 30 

The virologist, who is also known as George Gao, further defended the Chinese response by saying all coronaviruses are believed to be infectious and his team were looking for evidence before making a sound conclusion about the new strain.

‘As public health workers, we are [like] detectives, so evidence are [sic] the key for you to make any decision. You are not making any decision by whatever you are suspecting. You are making decision [sic] by evidence,’ Dr Gao said.

The Chinese CDC is part of the Chinese National Commission, which is supervised by the Chinese State Council.

More than 94% of coronavirus patients have recovered, China claims

China has announced today that at least 94 per cent of its coronavirus patients have recovered from the contagion.

The country where the pandemic began has made ‘significant progress in treating patients’, said a spokesperson from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 77,000 patients who contracted the killer bug have been discharged from the hospital, Chinese officials claimed.

More than 77,000 patients who contracted the killer bug have been discharged from the hospital, Chinese officials claimed. A 98-year-old patient is pictured being discharged from a hospital in Wuhan following a full recovery from the coronavirus

‘The overall situation of the epidemic control in China is getting better,’ Guo Yanhong, a spokeswoman from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention told the press today.

‘The rate of recovery is over 94 per cent,’ Ms Guo continued. ‘There is significant progress in treating patients.

‘But we still don’t know a lot about the virus, more than what we do know,’ the official added.

The announcement comes as China has faced criticism for covering up the true scale of its coronavirus crisis after revising the death toll of Wuhan on April 17.

Officials also fear that a second wave might hit the nation after seeing a surge of regional outbreaks and ‘imported cases’ from abroad.

Dr Gao said he arrived in Wuhan on January 17 with five other experts from the National Commission to supervise the control and prevention efforts of the outbreak.

He and his team met on January 19 to discuss the infectivity of the virus, and the experts agreed that there was ‘very efficient’ human-to-human transmission after speaking to locals.

He told CGTN: ‘We already had some suspected clusters, but by then we had some clear cluster cases… I think, for that, there is no doubt [that the virus can be spread between humans].’

He added: ‘We had this press conference in the evening of the 19th… I said the virus had already finished its “job” [of jumping] from animal to human, and then limited human-to-human transmission and then human-to-human [transmission].’

China’s coronavirus vaccine candidate is ‘effective and safe’ on animals, study claims

A potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese researchers has been proven effective and safe after conducting clinical trials on animals, a study from China has said.

A research group from the country published the study on Sunday after successfully testing the vaccine candidate on macaques and mice.

The medical report also indicated that the inactivated vaccine, known as PiCoVacc, can trigger an immune response in animals to protect them against the virus strain.

A potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese researchers has been proven effective and safe after conducting clinical trials on animals, a study has said. The picture shows microbiologist with a tube of biological sample labelled as COVID-19

The new study comes as scientists around the world have been racing to find a cure to the deadly disease. Chinese researchers have launched human trials on three vaccine candidates.

According to the report, researchers injected groups of mice and macaques with different doses of the potential vaccine.

The vaccine was proven safe and efficient after neither infection enhancement or adverse effects were observed in the study.

The scientists also noted that the study provided extensive evidence for the clinical development of potential COVID-19 vaccines, but further vaccine experiments on animals are needed.

Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist at Wuhan University, told Chinese media that the results from the study are convincing as macaques are more closely related to humans. 

Professor Zhong Nanshan, the leader of Beijing’s coronavirus expert team and one of the experts who arrived in Wuhan with Dr Gao, confirmed human-to-human transmission to the public on January 20.

The pandemic first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December. Experts believe the virus was passed onto humans by wild animals sold as food at a wet market in Wuhan.

In February, Beijing banned the trading and eating of exotic meat temporarily in the wake of the crisis.

Shenzhen and Zhuhai, two cities in Guangdong Province, will forbid their residents from eating dog meat from May 1 as part of their response.

Shenzhen has also announced that it will reward residents with up to £11,000 in cash if they inform police about illegal wildlife-related activities.

Professor Zhong Nanshan (pictured on April 15), who is the leader of Beijing’s coronavirus expert team, confirmed human-to-human transmission to the public on January 20

COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has killed 4,632 people and infected 82,758 in China, according to the latest figures from its National Health Commission.

But the Chinese government has been widely accused of trying to hide the truth of its coronavirus outbreak, including its infection numbers and the infectivity of the virus, at the early stages of the pandemic.

Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, reported on January 6 that no evidence showed the virus could spread from one person to another. 

The condition of the patients who suffered the ‘mysterious viral pneumonia’ was ‘largely controllable’, reported Xinhua in another article on January 10, citing an expert.  

Wuhan officials last week revised up its death toll by 50 per cent, taking the city’s fatality total to 3,869, amid controversy.

Wuhan, the former centre of the coronavirus pandemic, last week revised up its death toll by 50 per cent amid controversy. A worker is pictured examining a mask produced in a clean-room production line for masks at the Wuhan Zonsen Medical Products Co. on April 21

Critics have also condemned the World Health Organization (WHO) for colluding with Beijing to downplay the seriousness of the outbreak.

Many are citing a tweet from the WHO on January 14, which read ‘Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.’

US President Donald Trump and senior Republican figures in Washington have cast doubt over China’s infection data and the origin of the disease.

Sources said American analysts will present their findings ‘in the near term’ to Trump, who will then huddle with aides to determine how to hold China accountable for the pandemic 

Trump has also put $500million in funding on hold to the WHO while an investigation is conducted to identify if the organisation had allowed Beijing to cover up the epidemic. 

The WHO chief yesterday insisted ‘nothing is hidden from the US’ on COVID-19 as he claimed the agency has been warning about the virus ‘from day one.’

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who leads the organisation, said ‘there is no secret in WHO’ as he confirmed no information about the pandemic was withheld from the US.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (pictured) said yesterday ‘there is no secret in WHO’ as he confirmed no information about the pandemic was withheld from the United States

Angela Merkel has become the latest world leader to hint that China has misled the world over coronavirus.

The German Chancellor yesterday urged Beijing to be transparent about the origin and initial transmission of the virus.

‘I believe the more transparent China is about the origin story of the virus, the better it is for everyone in the world in order to learn from it.’

With 4,648 deaths, Germany has suffered almost the same number of casualties as China – with 4,636 – but has confirmed almost 62,000 more infections.

Besides, French President Emmanuel Macron said there could be no comparison between countries where the truth was suppressed and nations where information flowed freely and citizens could criticise their governments.

The coronavirus has so far killed more than 170,000 people and infected over 2.4 million worldwide.

Chinese city rewards residents who report trading of wild animals with £11k in cash

A city in China has vowed to tackle the illegal trading of wildlife by rewarding residents with up to £11,000 in cash if they inform police about such crimes.

Police in the southern Chinese city Shenzhen has launched a reporting platform on a popular messaging app WeChat to catch wildlife traffickers, according to the press today.  

The authorities plan to offer 500 to 100,000 yuan (£57-£11,000) to informants who provide them with valuable information about illegal activities related to wild animals. 

A city in China has vowed to tackle illegal wildlife trade by rewarding residents with up to £11,000 cash if they inform police about such crimes. Police officers are pictured standing guard at a toll station of an expressway in Wuhan on April 8

Citizens can also report on the social platform about other criminal activities, including burglary, drug trafficking and prostitution.

Situated in southern China’s Guangdong Province, Shenzhen has around 13 million people and is the fifth-largest city in the country. 

The news comes as Shenzhen has banned the eating of wild animals with a ‘historic’ new law in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

Shenzhen is the first city in China to ban its 13 million residents from consuming wildlife, including dog and cat meat.

The legislation was passed by lawmakers in Shenzhen on March 31 and will take effect on May 1, according to a government notice. 

According to the document, nine types of livestock are suitable for people to eat. They are pigs, cows, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese and pigeons. 

Residents are also allowed to dine on aquatic animals permitted by law.  

One charity group hailed the passage as a ‘historic decision’ which marked ‘a watershed moment’ in the animal protection in China.

The officials have described the regulation as the ‘universal civilisation requirement for a modern society’.

They said they had considered the city’s practical situation before including the extra animal species, which are not wildlife. The aim is to ‘further satisfy the daily needs of the people’. 

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