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Coronavirus not man-made, originated from nature: Chinese envoy

Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said on Tuesday that the coronavirus was not man-made but originated from nature. Sun Weidong also asserted that while the coronavirus is terrible, "rumour is more terrible". The Chinese envoy also said that he was "deeply touched" by the kindness his country received from India.

The COVID-19 virus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan late last year, has spread to more than 72,000 people and killed 1,900 in China.

When the Chinese envoy was asked if there was a possibility that virus was released from Wuhan Institute of Virology accidentally but not from the seafood market, he said the coronavirus was not man-made but had originated from nature.

"We still don't have enough knowledge. This virus originated from nature, not man-made. The virus is terrible but the rumour is more terrible," he said.

Speaking of the help China has received from India, the Chinese envoy said, "In these difficult times, I am deeply touched by the kindness of the Indian friends. All these reminded me of the time when Dr Kotnis saved many lives & made a great contribution to the Chinese people's liberation cause."

"It also reminds me of what I experienced during the outbreak of SARS in 2003. At that time, I had the honour to receive a delegation from India led by the then Foreign Minister George Fernandes who visited Shanghai during the epidemic," Sun Weidong said.

The Chinese envoy added that the Indian side had assured the readiness to stand by China and provide all the required assistance.

"The Indian side assured the readiness to stand by China and provide the assistance that India can, to face this challenge," Sun Weidong said, adding, "China and India have been keeping close communication on the epidemic. Recently PM Modi sent a letter of condolence to President Xi Jinping, expressing his recognition of the tremendous effort made by Chinese govt to deal with the outbreak."

Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong on Tuesday asserted that China has put in place multi-level control and prevention mechanisms and will win the battle against coronavirus.

The envoy said China has allocated RMB 80 billion to contain the disease and the government has sufficient resources and policy tools to cope with economic fluctuations following the epidemic.

He said the number of confirmed coronavirus cases outside Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, is coming down.

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