Danish WHO researcher claims to be misquoted & Thailand rejects speculation

Earlier this week, Danish daily Politiken cited Danish epidemiologist Thea Fischer saying that the coronavirus may have originated from bats in Thailand and questioning whether Chatuchak was indeed “the place that brought the coronavirus to Wuhan.”

Coconuts Bangkok can now report that Thea Fischer has explained via Twitter that she was not quoted correctly by Politiken, saying that she only spoke of recent findings that horseshoe bats have been found to host viruses very similar to Sars-CoV-2.

And it is not only the Danish epidemiologist who feels the article was misleading and incorrect. Chawetsan Namwat of the Disease Control Department has refuted the report and said that Thailand has already looked into it and dismissed the possibility that the massive open market could have spawned Sars-Cov-2.

“The Department of Disease Control has looked into the issue, and we can say that it’s not true,” said Chawetsan Namwat, head of the department’s Disease Control and Emergency Health Risks Division. “There is no academic proof that it came from any animal (at the market).”

At Chatuchak, rows of live animals including illicit wildlife are sold in dank quarters mostly out of sight of the thousands of tourists who pack it on weekends for T-shirts, souvenirs, and tchotchkes. Thai health officials and wildlife officials have been putting preventive measures in place at several animal markets, including Chatuchak.

Chawetsan Namwat

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

View all posts by Mette Larsen

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