Covid-19 present in Italy since mid December, weeks before discovery by China
Over the months, new evidence have gradually emerged, proving that Covid-19 was already in countries outside of China much earlier than previously known.
This lends credence to the theory that Covid-19 may not have originated in China, and was instead only discovered first in China.
Now, Italian scientists have found evidence that Covid-19 had been in Italy as early as 18 December, weeks before the first case was detected by Wuhan health authorities.
Italy’s National Institute of Health said samples of water from Milan and Turin dated 18 December, showed presence of Covid-19 traces.
This is the latest in a string of evidence that the virus had been circulating outside China much earlier than thought.
In the study, ISS scientists examined 40 sewage samples collected from Northern Italian wastewater treatment plants between October and February.
“This research may help to understand the beginning of the virus’s circulation in Italy,” the ISS said in a statement.
The Italian report follows similar findings in other European countries. Researchers in Barcelona found coronavirus in wastewater dating back to 41 days prior to their first reported case. In May, France discovered that their first case of Covid-19 was on 27 December, days before China discovered the virus, on a man with no travel history to China.