As China battled to deflect the criticism over the origin of the novel coronavirus from Wuhan, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday that it was important to get a clear idea of the source of the deadly virus as he backed efforts to find it on the basis of science.
After staunchly denying the US allegations of coronavirus originating from a bio-lab in its first epicentre Wuhan, Chinese researchers on Wednesday debunked widely reported view that the deadly virus emanated from a wet market in the city selling live animals.
Recent Shanghai-based research targeting local confirmed cases of coronavirus once again proved that the attacks on a seafood market in Wuhan for originating the virus is nonsense, official media reported.
The results of the study, being published on the website of top academic journal Nature on May 20, implied the Huanan Seafood Market in Hubei's capital Wuhan may not be the birthplace of COVID-19, although the virus outbreak emerged in Wuhan had a strong link to contacts with the market, state-run Global Times reported.
Asked about the controversy related to the virus and the recent resolution passed by the World Health Assembly to conduct comprehensive study of the virus, Li in his annual press conference here said tha the virus caught everyone by surprise as it is a new disease.
Li headed the leading group of officials in China which dealt with the coronavirus with the lockdown of Wuhan from January 23.
"China and many other countries believe it is important to get a clear idea of the source of the new coronavirus," Li said.
China is one of the co-sponsors of the resolution at the WHA, he said, adding that "we believe that getting clear of the source of virus on the basis of science will help us to contain the spread of COVID-19."
Avoiding to dwell into the controversy over its origin, Li said China will continue to adopt a science-based open and transparent approach in dealing with COVID-19.
China is open to international cooperation on the research and development of vaccines, medicines and testing reagents for COVID-19, and is willing to share the deliverables with the world, Li added.
He said although China successfully brought the coronavirus under control, the country has “not yet come to complete end of it yet. There are still sporadic cases in China. Scientists have cautioned us to stay on high alert to prevent a resurgence of the disease”.
"We must continue to adopt a science-based open and transparent approach in dealing with COVID-19," he said. "Any infection must be promptly handled and no cover-up will be allowed."
"Many people say COVID-19 may not end soon and we may have to live with it for quite some time to come. All countries are confronted with dual challenges. It is like doing double exams. We have to contain the spread of the virus and do our best to get life and work back to normal," he said.
"I am afraid there is a certain level of conflict of interest between the two goals. We need to do our utmost to strike a delicate balance and continue to explore our way forward. In this process, international cooperation is vitally important," he added.
Globally, there have been 5.6 million people recorded as infected and 354,983 deaths since the virus emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
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