Top emergency expert of the World Health Organization on Friday said it would be “highly speculative” for the global agency to say that coronavirus did not emerge in China, where it was first identified in a food market in December 2019. Also Read - Bolsonaro Likens COVID-19 Vaccine to 'Sanjeevani Booti', Thanks PM Modi After Consignment of Covishield Arrives in Brazil

China has been pushing a narrative via state media that the virus existed abroad before it was discovered in the central city of Wuhan, citing the presence of coronavirus on imported frozen food packaging and scientific papers claiming it had been circulating in Europe last year. Also Read - Face Mask No More Mandatory While Travelling With Family in Private Vehicles in Pune

“I think it’s highly speculative for us to say that the disease did not emerge in China,” Mike Ryan said at a virtual briefing in Geneva after being asked if COVID-19 could have first emerged outside China. Also Read - 'Not 1, But 2 Made in India Vaccines': Modi in Interaction With Covid Vaccinators in Varanasi | Top Points

“It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigations where the human cases first emerged,” he added, saying that evidence might then lead to other places.

He repeated that the WHO intended to send researchers to the Wuhan food market to probe the virus origins further.

The WHO has been accused by the Trump administration of being “China-centric”, allegations it has repeatedly denied.