Family found hiding for 43 days in Wuhan seafood market uninfected despite wearing no protective gear

By Global Times Published: 2020/3/11 23:50:56

Photo: Screenshot of BTV

A family of four were found hiding in the Wuhan Huanan seafood market, initially believed to be the origin of COVID-19, and still uninfected, despite the fact that they wore no protective gear throughout the 43-day period.

The family, a couple with one child and an elderly dependent, are currently under quarantine, after they were spotted as sanitary workers disinfected the market on March 3, Hubei Television reported.

The family was reported as having stayed in the market for 43 days, where an order was issued for its permanent closure after the outbreak began. They did not wear protective suits the whole time, and are only seen wearing masks in the video published by local television.

The husband, told media that they "were required to stay in a hotel" after being found; the elderly man declined to reveal whether they used to work in the market and why they stayed there.

The seafood market has been undergoing disinfection recently. The market was previously believed to be the origin of the epidemic. However, such a conclusion has been challenged recently by much academic research. 

The study published on ChinaXiv, a Chinese open repository for scientific research, reveals the novel coronavirus was introduced to the seafood market from another location, and then spread rapidly from market to market.

The findings were the result of the analyses of genome-wide data, sources of infection and the route of spread from 93 viral samples collected from 12 countries across four continents.

Wuhan virologist Yang Zhanqiu told the Global Times that this could also serve as proof that the origin of the virus is not from the seafood market. "Scientists should pay more attention to the first group of patients who began to show symptoms, instead of focusing on the seafood market."

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