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The World Health Organization (WHO) experts, who are investigating the Covid-19 pandemic origins, suggest that ferret badgers and rabbits, which were sold at a Wuhan market in China, could have played a role in spreading the novel coronavirus to humans, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The investigators, however, note the need for further probe into suppliers of those and other animals to the market. They have yet to ascertain a full list of live and dead animals sold legally or illegally at the market.

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The experts also insist that China carry out widespread testing of its mink farms after two-way transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between humans and minks was confirmed in Europe.

The WHO expert team finished their four-week trip to China last week. At a press conference, they announced that any leak of the virus from a lab was unlikely, while the Wuhan wet market’s role remains unclear.

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The investigators also doubted that bats had carried coronavirus to the market, suggesting that there was an intermediate host.

Earlier, it was reported that China has refused to give the WHO raw data on its early Covid-19 cases. The world health agency officials said raw, personalised data could help them determine how and when the coronavirus first spread in China.

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The experts said that while it was unlikely there were large-scale outbreaks in Wuhan or elsewhere in China before December 2019, they do not rule out that it was circulating in other regions.