MONDAY, Feb. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- As part of their trip to China to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, a World Health Organization team on Sunday went to two large food markets in the city of Wuhan.
They spent about an hour at the Huanan Seafood Market, which was the site of an outbreak of the virus in December 2019, the Associated Press reported. Initially, experts suspected the new coronavirus came from wild animals sold at the market, but the site has been largely ruled out as a source of the virus.
The WHO team also visited the Baishazhou market -- which is one of the largest wet markets in Wuhan and was the food distribution center for the city during its 76-day lockdown last year, the AP reported.
"Very important site visits today -- a wholesale market first & Huanan Seafood Market just now," WHO team member Peter Daszak, a zoologist with the U.S. group EcoHealth Alliance, said in a tweet. "Very informative & critical for our joint teams to understand the epidemiology of COVID as it started to spread at the end of 2019."
The WHO team's visit has quickly become embroiled in politics, as China has sought to cast blame elsewhere for the emergence of COVID-19. For example, the Chinese government has suggested that the outbreak might have started with imports of frozen seafood tainted with the virus, but international scientists and agencies have largely rejected that theory.