The first outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus, occurred in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Since January, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, France, the United States, Canada, and other countries around the world have reported that their first COVID-19 patients had a travel history of visiting China.
At the time of writing, more than 63.48 million people have contracted the disease outside mainland China, with more than 1.47 million deaths, according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
But by Nov. 29, after several media outlets reported on its findings, the study was removed from the SSRN website without explanation.
Global Times also quoted Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who claimed: “Wuhan is the place where the first infection cases were formally recorded, but it does not prove that the coronavirus originated from Wuhan.”
The newspaper also cited Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization (WHO) health emergencies program, to suggest that the virus origin was elsewhere.
The publication noted that Ryan said during a Nov. 27 press conference the agency would carefully trace virus strains from France, Spain, and Italy.
Kekulé found that the virus strain in many COVID-19 patients around the world can be genetically traced to a variant that mutated and spread in northern Italy, but hasn't suggested that the virus originated from there.
Chinese authorities have since stepped up inspections of imported food products.