Chinese officials are stepping up their efforts to blame the coronavirus outbreak in Beijing on a new mutant strain of the disease imported from Europe.
According to the Chinese, this new version of the Chinese coronavirus is so potent that it can infect people who already had the original strain and developed antibodies against it.
China’s state-run Global Times quoted health officials who claimed the coronavirus spreading from Beijing’s enormous Xinfadi food market came from Europe and is “older than the current European coronavirus.”
These Chinese officials claimed the virus mutated in “dark, humid environments” in Europe and was then shipped to the Xinfadi market in frozen foods. The Europeans were blamed for not properly sterilizing their food preparation equipment or disinfecting their kitchens.
After lobbing these allegations around, the Chinese officials admitted they may never be able to determine who the original Xinfadi patients were, and would “need more data before making an informed decision” about the origins of the outbreak.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Sunday quoted Chinese health experts who speculated the “European strain” has mutated so much that Chinese victims have no resistance against it, not even if they survived the coronavirus disease and developed antibodies.
A non-peer-reviewed paper published by scientists from Chongqing Medical University asserted that antibodies against the original Chinese coronavirus were ineffective against the new mutation, said to be much more infectious than the earlier variety.
Although Chinese officials last week confidently predicted the Beijing outbreak would soon be brought under control, the SCMP noted that “about ten percent” of the outbreak victims remain in critical condition, and medical teams from across China are being flown into the city to help with treatment and containment.
In addition to complaining about European food imports, the Chinese have suspended poultry imports from a plant owned by U.S. producer Tyson, Inc. because coronavirus infections were reported there.
China’s National Health Commission said 18 new coronavirus cases were reported on Sunday, nine of them in Beijing. 26 were reported the previous day, 22 of them in Beijing.