China has released the genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 strain that is behind the new outbreak in Beijing, Reuters reports. It adds that China says the strain is of European origin, though World Health Organization officials only say it originated outside Beijing.
Some 200 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Beijing, Business Insider adds. Reuters reports that scientists sequenced three viral samples, two of which came from patients and one environmental sample, and published them to China's National Microbiology Data Center website.
Wu Zunyou from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on state TV that the strain found in Beijing was similar to the European strain, according to Reuters. The CDC's Zhang Yong further noted, according to Business Insider, that while the Beijing strain appears to have European origins, it is an older version of the strain that's currently circulating in Europe.
"What it's saying most likely is that the disease was probably imported from outside Beijing at some point," Michael Ryan, the executive director of the Health Emergencies Program at WHO said during a press conference Friday according to Business Insider. He added that "establishing when that happened and how long the chain of transmission is important."