The emergencies chief of the World Health Organization said he fully expects China to share the genetic sequences from the resurgence of coronavirus that have recently hit Beijing, even though they have not yet done so.
Chinese officials said that their examination of the virus shows it originated in Europe, but they have not yet shared the sequences with WHO or the global scientific community.
“We fully expect our colleagues in China will share that information,” said Dr. Michael Ryan at a press briefing on Monday. Ryan said the finding that this virus genome may represent a strain commonly transmitting in Europe is significant but that verifying the hypothesis requires the sequences be shared.
Ryan said the new cluster of cases in China was of particular concern given that Beijing had gone 50 days without a new case, but expressed confidence Chinese authorities would be able to contain it.
In a story published earlier this month, the Associated Press found China delayed sharing critical virus information with WHO for more than a week after three government labs had decoded the information.
Separately, the head of the World Health Organization says more than 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported worldwide each day over the past two weeks mostly in the Americas and South Asia and countries that have curbed transmissions must stay alert to the possibility of resurgence.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted a new cluster of cases in Beijing, which went more than 50 days without a new case of COVID-19, and said the origin of that new series of cases is under investigation.
Dr. Michael Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies chief, said the U.N. health agency has offered additional assistance to Chinese authorities and said WHO could be bolstering its team in China in the coming days as the investigation advances.
The outbreak first emerged late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Tedros noted that it took over two months to reach 100,000 reported cases now that is a daily norm. Nearly three-quarters of each day’s new cases come from 10 countries, mostly in South Asia and the Americas, he said.