China Floats Covid-19 Theories That Point to Foreign Origins, Frozen Food

As WHO prepares probe into start of pandemic, scientists chafe at politicization of research

China’s Zealous Coronavirus Tests on Frozen Food Vex Trade PartnersChina’s Zealous Coronavirus Tests on Frozen Food Vex Trade Partners.
China is stepping up coronavirus inspections on imported food packaging after it linked several cases to refrigerated and frozen products. WSJ explains why Beijing’s zero-tolerance for the virus has irritated some of its trade partners. Illustration: Ksenia Shaikhutdinova

HONG KONG—China is aggressively advancing alternative theories about the source of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, muddying the waters as the World Health Organization prepares to launch a long-awaited investigation into the origins of the pandemic.

In recent weeks, Chinese state media, often suggesting the virus came from outside China, have seized on a series of recent studies that show it was spreading outside the country earlier than first assumed.

Government officials have also pushed the theory that the virus could have hitched a ride into the central Chinese city of Wuhan on frozen-food imports. After outbreaks in multiple Chinese cities in recent months including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and elsewhere, authorities pointed to frozen-food packaging as the potential origin.

While infectious disease experts say cold surfaces can be vectors for virus transmission, the WHO and other health authorities say the risk of infection from food or its packaging is thought to be low.

On Tuesday, a Chinese diplomat based in India posted a story about the possibility of cold-chain transmission on Twitter while calling for further investigation into an unsubstantiated fringe theory that the U.S. military was involved in spreading the virus.

Via WSJ to TO READ THE FULL STORY: Wall Street Journal