Australian virologist traveling to Wuhan to investigate coronavirus origins reveals search will focus on infamous wet market and ‘leak’ lab
- Sydney virologist Dominic Dwyer is part of a team of experts headed to China
- I would like to determine if the Covid virus really got started in Wuhan from an animal source
- The Chinese the government has often stated that the coronavirus has started elsewhere
An Australian member of an international team traveling to Wuhan to investigate the origins of the coronavirus wants to shed light on how the pandemic started.
Sydney virologist Dominic Dwyer is one of 10 World Health Organization experts who flew to China on Thursday.
Professor Dwyer admits it is “unlikely” they will track down patient zero, but hopes for answers.
He wants to determine whether the virus really started in Wuhan or started elsewhere and was then amplified in the Chinese city, which has more than 11 million inhabitants.
Professor Dominic Dwyer (pictured above), a leading virologist in Sydney, travels to China to shed light on how the pandemic started
China has angrily refuted suggestions from other countries that the coronavirus started in Wuhan
He also wants to know whether Covid comes from an animal source and, if so, which one and what role laboratories played.
After completing two weeks of quarantine on arrival in China, Dwyer hopes to visit the seafood and animal wholesaler linked to an early group of patients.
He would also like to visit the Institute of Virology in Wuhan and the hospitals that treated the first coronavirus patients.
“The Chinese authorities have told the WHO team that they are happy that people are going where they want,” Dwyer told ABC radio this week.
The journey comes more than a year after the global pandemic started and eight months since China first agreed to let the WHO team into the country.
The WHO investigation is being conducted in conjunction with the Chinese government, and Dwyer wants to avoid the politics that could accompany the investigation.
“There is clearly political pressure and concern both within China and outside of China,” he said.
The Chinese government would like to consider the coronavirus elsewhere and wants the WHO to carry out fact-finding missions in other countries.
In December last year, political representatives from Beijing claimed the virus may have originated outside of China. They suggested it travel to a wet market in Wuhan via imports of frozen products from other countries, including Australia.
Night markets in Wuhan, China (pictured above) always interact with people
In November 2020, as the trade tension between Australia and China continued to escalate, Beijing blocked Australian exports, including coal and seafood.
They then imposed a 212 percent tariff on Aussie wine, effectively banning the product.
Other grievances included Australia’s decision to ban Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from the country’s 5G network and the blocking of foreign investment bids by Chinese companies.
Tensions between the two countries first started to rise last April, when Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus.
China’s Grievances to Australia
1. ‘Continued Willful Interference in Chinese Affairs in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan’
2. ‘Participating in the US’ Anti-China Campaign and Spreading Misinformation ‘
3. ‘Thinly disguised allegations against China about cyber attacks without any evidence’
4. ‘An unfriendly or antagonistic report about China by the media’
5. Provide funding to ‘anti-Chinese think tank for spreading false reports’
6. ‘Law on Foreign Interference’
7. ‘Decisions on Foreign Investments’
8. ‘Banned Huawei technologies and ZTE from the 5G network’
9. ‘Politicization and stigmatization of normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia’
10. Making statements ‘about the South China Sea for the United Nations’
11. ‘Scandalous condemnation of the ruling party of China by MPs and racist attacks on Chinese or Asian people’
12. “The Early Search and Reckless Seizure of Houses and Property of Chinese Journalists”
13. Calls for an independent investigation into Covid-19
14. ‘Legislation to Investigate Agreements with a Foreign Government’