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Senior Chinese diplomat casts doubt on coronavirus originating in China

Oslo: The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said on Thursday it was unclear whether the corona virus had first originated in China, casting doubt on the views of health experts and foreign governments.

Speaking during a visit to Norway, Wang said that, while China was the first country to report the existence of the virus to the World Health Organisation, “it does not mean that the virus originated in China”.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, and Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide hold a press conference after political talks they had earlier in the evening in Oslo.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, and Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide hold a press conference after political talks they had earlier in the evening in Oslo.Credit:AP

“Actually, for the past months, we have seen reports … showing that the virus emerged in different parts of the world, and may have emerged earlier than in China,” Wang told reporters, speaking through an interpreter.

Health authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan reported the first case of what turned out to be the new coronavirus in December, and the first known death linked to the virus in early January.

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