Coronavirus outbreak: Testing confirms source of deadly illness

Officials have confirmed the coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan originated from a seafood wholesale market, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the national centre for disease control and prevention.

The virus has been traced to the market that was illegally selling wildlife.

China last week banned wildlife trade nationwide in markets, supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It's still not clear which animal was carrying the illness.

"Every effort should be made to ensure patients are admitted," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said, as reported by the South China Morning Post.

"Authorities in Hubei and Wuhan are responsible for safeguarding the province, and should try their best to contain the spread.

"This is their top task."

In rare public self-criticism, Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang said the city's management of the crisis was "not good enough" and indicated he was willing to resign.

Researchers in China have said the deadly virus outbreak may have originated in snakes but others aren't so sure.

Identifying the virus' source is essential to developing a vaccine and effective treatments. 

"Results derived from our evolutionary analysis suggest for the first time that snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV," Peking University's Wei Ji and his team wrote in their study, published in the Journal of Medical Virology.

But Paulo Eduardo Brandão, a virologist at the University of São Paulo, says there's no evidence this coronavirus can even infect a snake.

"They have no evidence snakes can be infected by this new coronavirus and serve as a host for it," he told journal Nature. "There's no consistent evidence of coronaviruses in hosts other than mammals and [birds]."

Reuters / Newshub.