Research points out that the coronavirus pandemic was likely a result of outbreaks in many places around the globe, Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister, stated, adding that Beijing will resist any attempts at “stigmatization.”
“We raced against time and were the first country to report cases to the world,” Wang said in an interview to Chinese media published on Friday. He argued that, contrary to a prevailing opinion, China’s own outbreak of the disease was not exclusively to blame for the global pandemic.
The first cluster of Covid-19 cases was reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan on December 31, 2019; and over the next year the highly contagious virus spread to the rest of the world, resulting in 84.1 million confirmed cases and more than 18.3 million deaths so far.
Despite the fact that the precise origins of the coronavirus remain unclear, the outgoing President Donald Trump administration has been blaming the pandemic on China. Accusations levelled against Beijing ranged from cover-up of the initial outbreak to claims that the virus was human-made and somehow leaked from a Chinese laboratory.
Trump has repeatedly referred to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus”, insisting that Beijing should be held accountable for it.
“We are on the front line of the struggle for public opinion,” Wang said, adding that China strongly opposes “the politicization of the pandemic.”
“We were determined to make sure that the objective narrative and collective memory of the battle against the pandemic would not be distorted by lies,” the minister added.
The results of several international studies suggested that when China first announced the new virus it had already been present in other countries.
A month ago, a research into blood donations by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that Covid-19 had been infecting Americans several weeks before December 31, 2019.
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Similar surveys carried out in France and Italy found coronavirus antibodies in blood samples from early December and September that year, respectively.
Meanwhile, tests of sewage water in Spain uncovered traces of the coronavirus in probes taken as early as March 2019 – that’s nine months before the pandemic is believed to have started.
Chinese health officials earlier suggested that Covid-19 could’ve gotten to Wuhan from abroad on frozen seafood or meat products. They also suspected the participants of Military World Games, which were held in the city in October 2019, of transmitting the disease.