WHO chief on Covid origins admits patient zero may have been infected by bat in Wuhan lab

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Peter Ben Embarek, Head of WHO mission into origins of Covid-19, accepted that patient zero of the pandemic may have been an employee at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The chief, who was part of the WHO mission to Wuhan, China in January, said: “An employee who was infected in the field by taking samples falls under one of the probable hypotheses.” The health organisations initial report ruled out laboratory emissions as “extremely unlikely”.

Mr Embarek said the first Covid infection may well have happened by collecting – or working with – bats in connection with the research that took place in Wuhan.

He said: “An employee who was infected in the field by taking samples falls under one of the probable hypotheses. 

“This is where the virus jumps directly from a bat to a human. In that case, it would then be a laboratory worker instead of a random villager or other person who has regular contact with bats. 

“So it is actually in the probable category.”

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