New Delhi: Expressing hope that the international community can view the epidemic in a rational and calm way, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong on Tuesday said that the coronavirus was not man-made but originated from nature.
Mr 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 over 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.
Talking about India’s support, Mr Weidong 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 George Fernandes who visited Shanghai during the epidemic,” the envoy added.
Mr Weidong also said 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,” he 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.”