CHINA / SOCIETY
Wuhan's Huanan market 'won't be demolished soon'; no more valuable info on virus origins available in it
Published: Apr 13, 2021 06:27 PM
Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, is still cordoned off on April 9, 2021. Photo: Zhang Hui/GT

Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, is still cordoned off on April 9, 2021. Photo: Zhang Hui/GT

Plans for Wuhan's Huanan seafood market, which was closely linked to the first batch of Chinese patients infected with COVID-19 and has been sealed off for more than a year until now, have not yet been issued, the local government said, denying claims that the market is to be demolished soon. 

A Chinese scientist from the joint WHO-China experts team said it would be very difficult to acquire any more valuable information relating to coronavirus from the market, brushing off claims that demolishing it would be an attempt to "thwart" international efforts to trace the virus origins. He said that after multiple rounds of disinfection, the market can now be dealt with as a normal building. 

The first floor of the Huanan market was still cordoned off with blue fences when the Global Times reporter visited it one year after Wuhan, the Chinese city hit hardest by the coronavirus, reopened. The second floor above the market, which is mainly occupied by spectacle shops, reopened in June 2020. 

Several former vendors gathered at the corner of the closed market to discuss rumors they heard about plans to demolish the market. One former seafood vendor at the market, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times that the management team of the market asked former merchants who still had tricycles in the closed market to register their personal information on April 8, and speculation about the market's demolition has since been circulating. 

A former vendor surnamed Ming who moved his vegetable business to a market about 16 kilometers from the Huanan market told the Global Times, without providing specifics, that he heard the site of the market would be turned into a park to commemorate medical staff who sacrificed their lives in the battle against COVID-19.

Some spectacle shop vendors on the second floor of the market said they also heard that it would be renovated but would not sell any seafood. 

A local government source close to the matter denied on Tuesday speculation that the market was about to be torn down, saying, "The plan for the market has not come out yet."

Some media cited the speculation over demolition, accusing the Chinese government of trying to "thwart" international efforts to trace the coronavirus origins. 

In response, the Chinese scientist from the joint WHO-China experts team said it would be very difficult to get any more valuable information on coronavirus origins from the market even if new studies would be launched, as the cluster infections relating to the market were reported so long ago that the environment no longer preserves relevant information.He told the Global Times the Huanan market could now be dealt with as a normal building as it has undergone several rounds of disinfections. 


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