'We may never find patient zero': WHO urges countries to cooperate

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jan 16, 2021, 04.26 PM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( AFP )

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'We may never find who patient zero was. What we need to do is follow the science and follow the studies,' WHO said in a press conference

The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries to cooperate with each other rather than playing the blame game about the origin of the deadly coronavirus, warning that the 'patient zero'  might never be found.

"We need to be very careful about the use of the phrase ‘patient zero’ which many people indicate as the first initial case. We may never find who the patient zero was," Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO, technical lead on COVID-19 said in a press conference.

Also read| China says latest COVID outbreak is due to foreign travellers

"We may never find who patient zero was. What we need to do is follow the science and follow the studies," she added.

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The statement has come at a time when WHO's team of expert scientists have gone to China's Wuhan — the original epicentre of the virus — to investigate the origin of coronavirus, which is alleged to be Wuhan.

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Kerkhove also warned people to keep following the basic safety measures such as hand sanitisation, face masks and social distancing till the virus is completely in control. "We have to be part of the collective action towards ending the pandemic," she said. "We have to prevent ourselves from getting infected and if we do get infected, make sure the virus stops with us and we don't allow it to pass to someone else."

Talking about the different variants which have been identified all over the world — UK, South Africa and Brazil — WHO assured people that while the new variant can bring a surge in cases, it can also be blamed on lapses in behaviour than the mutations.

"On variants, (the committee) called for a global expansion of genomic sequencing and sharing of data, along with greater scientific collaboration to address critical unknowns," the WHO said.

Kerkhove also addressed the concern of new mutations in her briefing and said, "It's not just as simple to say we've identified a mutation... there needs to be a system in place to understand what each of these mutations mean what these variants mean and how it impacts the behavior of the virus."

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