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China suggests Italy may be the birthplace of the COVID-19 pandemic

China is using a new study on the early, covert spread of coronavirus in Italy to cast doubt on the widely held assumption that the Asian nation was the birthplace of the pandemic, according to reports.

Officials in Beijing are pushing for a new study to suggest that the infection may have spread in the European nation as early as September – three months before it was confirmed to spread to the long-held epicenter of the Chinese city of Wuhan, of Noted London.

The Asian nation has also previously asked Spain about the origins of the pandemic as well as the U.S. military, claiming it brought the virus to Wuhan in October last year during the military world games, the report said.

Chinese state media have now pushed hard on the idea that the new study from the National Cancer Institute proves that the infection probably started in Italy, not China, according to the British paper.

“This shows once again that tracing the source of the virus is a complex scientific issue that must be left to researchers,”

; Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was quoted as saying by the UK Times. “[It] is a development process that can involve several countries. ”

Zhao Lijian
Zhao LijianGetty Images

The World Health Organization has admitted that it is possible that the virus “silently circulated elsewhere” before it was discovered in Wuhan.

However, many researchers are skeptical about the results of the Italian study – and others note that it does not rule out coronavirus originating in China.

“We know that China delayed the announcement of the outbreak, so there is no telling when it started there, and China has very strong commercial ties with northern Italy,” Giovanni Apolone of Milan’s National Cancer Institute told the UK Times.

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