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China Releases Gene Sequences, Says Recent Covid-19 Cluster in Beijing Linked to Strain Found in Europe

Residents line up to get tested at a coronavirus testing center set up outside a sports facility in Beijing. (Image:AP)

Residents line up to get tested at a coronavirus testing center set up outside a sports facility in Beijing. (Image:AP)

At least one of the three strains tied to the Chinese capital's largest wholesale food market had reportedly shown similarities to a strain found in Europe.

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China says it has published the gene sequences for three strains of the coronavirus detected in the new outbreak that hit Beijing this month.

The Center for Disease Control said it has provided the sequences to the World Health Organization and the GISAID Initiative that helps disseminate such information around the world.

At least one of the strains tied to the Chinese capital's largest wholesale food market had reportedly shown similarities to a strain found in Europe.

Also Friday, spokesperson for the National Health Commission Hu Qiangqiang said local confirmed infections had been recorded for five consecutive days in two areas, apparently referencing Beijing and the neighboring province of Hebei.

Meanwhile, CDC researcher Feng Luzhao said that while there so far is no evidence the virus can be transmitted other than the proven vectors of droplets expelled or left on surfaces, it would still be better not to eat uncooked foods.

However, international food and health bodies believe the possibility of transmission by food is extremely low and don't suggest that countries introduce restrictions on the international trade in food items because of the coronavirus outbreak, Song Yuelian, deputy director of the Chinese customs' health quarantine department, said.

Beijing has seen 183 confirmed cases since the outbreak last week at the Xinfadi market and the situation for prevention remains "very grave," city government spokesperson Xu Hejian said.

Facilities should be expanded to provide for all that need to be or wish to be tested, Xu said.

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