WeChat tells Chinese users there is zero chance coronavirus came from salmon

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Rumours are rife and the epidemic situation in the capital is “extremely severe.” Head of the WHO’s emergencies programme says he does don’t believe it is the primary hypothesis.

Authorities in Beijing have locked down residential compounds and fired officials over a new Covid-19 outbreak, with Chinese officials it as “extremely severe” in the BBC.

On Friday, SalmonBusiness reported that authorities claimed that the coronavirus was detected on a chopping board for imported salmon at Xinfadi market. The imported salmon was from Jingshen seafood market.

Imports of salmon has been ground to a halt but Chinese media are to dispel the idea that the virus came and was spread from the fish.

Reuters reported that Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies programme, said on packaging testing: “I don’t believe its the primary hypothesis but it needs to be explored”.

Consumer perceptions around imported salmon and a link to COVID-19 risk are rising however. Though the claim that the virus came from salmon is being dispelled on China’s largest social media platform WeChat, which is operated by tech giant Tencent Holdings.

The Chinese language version of Deutsche Welle reports that cartoons depicting salmon holding a knife “screaming injustice” has been spreading across Chinese social media.

PHOTO: WeChat

More recently, regarding the source of 40 positive samples found in the Xindi market, Gao Xiaojun, a spokesman for the Beijing Municipal Health and Health Commission, told China Newsweek posted in WeChat: “Some are from the salmon chopping board, some are not”.

Tencent’s fact-checking platform for its news services on WeChat additionally reported that the probably of the spread of coronavirus to human “is almost zero”.

On Monday, Carnegie analyst Lars Konrad Johnsen wrote that in the event of a confirmed transmission from imported salmon, the consumer perception of the salmon “will likely take years to regain, with historical supply/demand dynamics of limited value in forecasting future salmon prices”.