Microbiologists mock conspiracy claims on Wuhan virus

Local | 18 Mar 2020 4:23 pm

Two leading Hong Kong microbiologists  said it is easier for people to remember the coronavirus as "Wuhan virus" and slammed the culture of wild meat consumption in mainland China, saying  mainlanders have forgotten the bitter lessons of the 2003 Sars outbreak, RTHK reports.

In an article in the Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao co-written by Yuen Kwok-yung and his colleague David Lung, the microbiologists said that the coronavirus global pandemic originated from the mainland city of Wuhan.

They called on people to stop forwarding rumors that the virus originated from the US, saying it was baseless and was a joke.

On the controversy over the names of the virus and the disease with some saying it is discriminatory, the experts wrote they think it was “simple and direct” to call it "Wuhan coronavirus" or "Wuhan pneumonia".

They said the disease was named Covid-19 because the World Health Organisation stopped calling diseases using names of people or places from 2015.

“While scientists should use Covid-19 during academic exchanges, it was easy for communication for ordinary people and the media to call it Wuhan virus or Wuhan pneumonia,” they wrote.

They also warned there would be Sars 3.0 if people on the mainland did not stop eating wild animals.

“It’s a serious mistake that tough measures were not taken and game meat markets were not closed after the Sars outbreak. One must face the truth and avoid the same mistake again to fight the pandemic. Don’t blame it on others,” they wrote.

They reminded that Sars outbreak was linked to viruses that came from civet cats.

“It’s been seventeen years. Markets selling game meat are not banned. The problem has become more serious. Mainland people have completely forgotten the lesson from the Sars outbreak. It is eyebrow-raising that there are game meat markets in the middle of developed cities, and people openly sell, cook and eat them,” the article said.

It said the mainland people's disrespect for animals was the source of this virus outbreak.

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