5 Questions About Origins of Latest Virus Outbreak in Beijing

June 23, 2020 Updated: July 1, 2020

Commentary

After more than 50 days of no new reported cases, Beijing has announced new confirmed diagnoses of CCP virus (commonly known as the novel coronavirus) infection.

On June 11, the first local case was reported by the Beijing city government. To date, there have been more than 200 cases confirmed by authorities.

Scanning numerous information sources, five questions come to mind about the issue.

1. Did the Virus Come From Imported Salmon?

After the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus again hit Beijing, salmon became the authorities’ first suspect.

Following the report of the new case on June 11, authorities removed all salmon products from the market overnight and began a major food safety inspection drive.

On June 12, Beijing’s municipal Party secretary, Cai Qi, and mayor, Chen Jining, held an emergency meeting on the outbreak; they claimed that the CCP virus was found in imported seafood, and the virus strain was different from the domestic strain. Imports of seafood, beef, and lamb were halted immediately.

Salmon became the obvious scapegoat.

According to a report by state-owned Global Times on June 13, the CCP virus was detected on a cutting board used by a seller of imported salmon at the Xinfadi food market. The seller’s salmon was from the Fengtai district’s Jingshen seafood market, according to Zhang Yuxi, head of the Xinfadi market.

As a result, salmon naturally became the biggest “suspect” and “culprit.”

However, several Chinese virologists told Caixin.com that there’s no scientific evidence to support the claim that salmon can be infected with the novel coronavirus and spread the virus. The possibility of transmitting the virus through food contamination is also very slim.

More importantly, the nine workers directly related to the Jingshen seafood market booths that cut imported salmon, the 186 people working at seafood sections of the market, and 283 on-site samples collected from the market all tested negative.

2. Did Virus Come From the West?

Wu Zunyou, the newly appointed chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said lab test results showed that the virus strain was closer to the strain from Europe. However, it could possibly come from Europe or the Americas, he said.

“There have been no new cases in Beijing for more than 50 days. This time, it must be imported,” Guan Yi, director of the State Key Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases, University of Hong Kong, told China Newsweek.

“The possibility of spreading through the temperature-controlled supply chain is the greatest. Many slaughterhouses in Europe and the United States have had the COVID-19 outbreak. If it is spread through the temperature-controlled supply chain, it is nothing new,” Guan added.

“We ignored the prevention and testing of imported seafood and meat,” a CCP official claimed on a Chinese social media platform. “Since the outbreak, we have strictly controlled inbound flights and travelers to strictly prevent imported cases, and have adopted extremely strict isolation and prevention measures for inbound people. However, there’s still a shortcoming. We have not tested imported seafood, meat, and fruits.

“This provides the virus an opportunity to sneak in through salmon.”

The CCP’s troll army soon began picking fights online, by blaming Europe and the United States as the source of the Beijing virus outbreak.

However, if the virus really spread to China through imported goods such as seafood, meat, and other foods, why didn’t that happen to other countries which import from the same regions?

The global salmon farming industry produces roughly 2.2 million tons per year. The most important markets are Europe (about 1 million tons) and the United States (about 400,000 tons). China imports less than 100,000 tons a year, and its annual consumption is less than 5 percent of global output.

So why is it that only salmon imported into China was found to contain the CCP virus? Does the virus have a preference for China?

3. Did Virus Come From Hubei?

After Zhang Yuelin, general manager of the Xinfadi market, was dismissed, a worker at the market disclosed on social media that Zhang and the leadership were falsely positive about “incentivizing the procurement of produce from Hubei to save Hubei” and “neglecting the supervision of temperature-controlled transportation and staff.”

Hubei Province was a hotspot for China’s epidemic. Wuhan, the city where the virus first emerged, is the capital of Hubei.

Since the Xinfadi market has been actively buying goods from Hubei, is it possible that some virus-infected products from Hubei have brought the virus into Beijing? Or might the driver who went to Hubei to transport the goods, or the freezer in the truck, have been infected with the virus, and then brought it into Beijing?

I believe this is likely.

4. Did Delegates to Two Sessions Transmit Virus?

The Two Sessions refers to the regime’s annual political meetings, where the rubber-stamp legislature and its advisory body enact policies and agendas. Normally held in March, the 2020 meeting was delayed until May 21 due to the CCP virus pandemic.

Some Chinese netizens speculated that the outbreak in Beijing was caused by delegates from other provinces who may have brought the virus to Beijing while attending the Two Sessions. Cases were already discovered before the end of the Two Sessions.

To save face for Chinese leader Xi Jinping (since he’s the one who insisted on holding the Two Sessions), the outbreak was concealed for more than 10 days. Fearing that Beijing might become a second Wuhan, the regime was forced to disclose the outbreak.

When did this wave of the Beijing outbreak begin?

In an exclusive interview with state broadcaster CCTV News on the evening of June 15, CDC’s Wu Zunyou said that while it’s still not certain, “From the cases found so far, based on the time the case was found and transmitted, the earliest should be around the end of May.”

If so, according to the incubation period of the virus of at least two weeks, it is very possible that this burst of infections would have appeared before the Two Sessions concluded at the end of May.

Since the epidemic began, Chinese official experts have conceded that there are a large number of asymptomatic infected people in China.

“The virus stays in the body for more than three weeks, and it is possible to transmit the virus,” one expert said.

Thus, even rigorous nucleic acid testing might not fully detect all cases. Of course, the experts would not trace the outbreak back to the delegates. It would be considered a challenge to the Party’s political stability.

5. Why Attention on Salmon Cutting Board Sample?

On June 13, during a press briefing about the Beijing outbreak, officials stated that on June 12, a total of 5,424 swab samples were collected from seafood, meat, and the external environment of farmer’s wholesale markets and supermarkets in Beijing. Forty environmental samples from the Xinfadi market tested positive.

What is puzzling is that, among the 40 positive samples collected from the environment, why was the salmon cutting board sample the only one that was released? Could there be any unspeakable secrets hidden in the 39 other samples?

Or, was publicizing the cutting board sample intended to mislead the public into thinking the source of the outbreak was from outside China?