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Massive crowds gather in city where coronavirus originated for New Years

Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF

Massive crowds in Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated, rang in the New Year in the streets at midnight Friday, Reuters reported.

Hundreds followed tradition by celebrating before the old Hankow Customs House Building, a popular New Year’s Eve site in Wuhan, Reuters reported.

A number of police and crowd controllers were at the celebrations, Reuters reported. Some of the security staff were spotted informing people they must wear their masks should they want to remain at the gatherings, which seemed peaceful.

The World Health Organization (WHO) China Country Office learned Dec. 31, 2019, that there were “cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China,” according to an organization statement. The cases were later discovered to be a unique coronavirus and designated as COVID-19, according to a WHO timeline.

A team of WHO plan to visit China in January to investigate the causes of the coronavirus, Reuters reported. A House Foreign Affairs Committee’s audit from September, which expanded a report in June, said the virus outbreak could have been stopped if the WHO and China hadn’t concealed the start of the pandemic.

The city has been mostly free of the virus for the most part for a while, but was locked down in 2020 from the end of January to April, Reuters reported. Some groups in the city’s population have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, while other cities, Beijing included, have seen a small increase in cases, according to Reuters.

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