WHO team finds signs of COVID outbreak much wider in Wuhan in December 2019

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Investigators from the World Health Organisation (WHO) looking into the origins of coronavirus in China have discovered that signs of the outbreak were much wider in Wuhan in December 2019 than previously thought. The investigators are urgently seeking access to hundreds and thousands of blood samples from the city that China has not so far let them examine. The lead investigator for the WHO mission, Peter Ben Embarek, said that the mission had found several signs of the more wide-ranging 2019 spread, including establishing for the first time there were over a dozen strains of the virus in Wuhan already in December.

The team, which arrived in China in January and spent four weeks looking into the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak, also met the first patient Chinese officials said had been infected, an office worker in his 40s, with no travel history of note, reported infected on December 8.

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