02:37 GMT04 April 2020
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    Medical Journal Nature Medicine has claimed that COVID-19 is likely to be a result of natural evolution. Wanda Markotter, Professor and Director of the Centre for Viral Zoonoses and DST-NRF South African Research Chair from the University of Pretoria, gave her views on the matter.

    Sputnik: Do scientists now know where the Coronavirus actually originated from?

    Wanda Markotter: It’s a very difficult question. The virus in the bats is still very different to what we are seeing in the human outbreak, so it is definitely not a direct spillover from bats, but that’s our best clue at the moment, and that’s the only thing we can call it.

    It looks like there are similar viruses circulating in bats, but not the ones directly responsible for this outbreak, and then there are all kinds of stories regarding where the outbreak came from, with the original story being that it was linked to the animal market, and that is now becoming a bit vague because it seems now that there is now earlier index cases that didn’t have contact with that specific market.

    It may still be a spillover in the market and it will be very difficult to trace that actually, because that specific market has closed, and I think that there is also more control with the other markets in China, so the specific animal will not be available to test anymore.

    Sputnik: Are comments by the likes of US President Donald Trump labelling the Coronavirus as “a Chinese disease” unnecessarily inflammatory?

    Wanda Markotter: I think it’s irresponsible to link it to a certain nation or place at this point, it’s the whole world’s problem anyway at this moment, and to label a virus-like that creates a lot of other issues that we don’t also want to deal with now.

    You get people really targeting those nations on Facebook, and on other social media platforms, but also in their daily lives, and that is uncalled for at this point, and we don’t really even know where this all started.

    Sputnik: Should every affected country in the world close down public events and schools in order to reduce the threat of the Coronavirus?

    Wanda Markotter: I think the South African Government reacted on Sunday, where we banned most of the travel into the country, and then put quarantines of fourteen days in place for people coming back, the schools closed today completely, until the fourteenth of April, all kinds of gatherings have also been called off and universities have closed classes.

    We must remember that this is the only thing at the moment that we know is working. Until we have a proper vaccine that we can vaccinate the populations with; trying to limit the spread of the Coronavirus is really the only way.

    That’s why the WHO also advise countries to do that, it’s the only thing we have, and it worked for China, and there are not a lot of cases there anymore, so it makes sense to follow that instead of not doing it.

    The problem is; that the whole world must do it for a few weeks, to be able to really slow this down and stop it.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Coronavirus Outbreak Turns Into Pandemic (233)
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