Question 2: Is salmon the novel coronavirus carrier?
The novel coronavirus was found on cutting boards for imported salmon at Beijing's Xinfadi wholesale market, and since then many markets have stopped selling the animal products.
Wu Zunyou said that it cannot be concluded that salmon is the source of infection just because novel coronavirus was detected on cutting boards.
He said fish in their natural habitat cannot catch coronavirus; however, they can be contaminated by workers during capture or transportation.
Wu said the new outbreak could have two possible explanations. The first may be the influx of meat and seafood to the market from all over the country and around the world. Some of it may have been contaminated by workers during processing and transportation, and then the virus jumped from product to people.
The second possibility is person-to-person transmission. "The infected person who brought the virus into the market might be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, and the hustle and bustle of the market led to the cluster of new infections," he said.
"Our seafood products are typically stored and transported in cold containers, thus it is possible for the virus to be preserved for a long time and increase the likelihood of infecting people," he said.
According to the findings of a University College London research team, the novel coronavirus only infects mammals, and evidence showed that it can infect cats and dogs, but not fish, birds or reptiles.