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Coronavirus did come from bats, say World Health Organization scientists sent to Wuhan

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World Health Organization said both infants and mothers are protected from any risk the COVID-19 virus poses if they practice exclusive breastfeeding.

"The basics of public health" are most effective for now, Tedros added, saying that wearing a mask in particular was sending a "powerful message to those around you that we are all in this together".

He noted that testing, isolating and treating patients, and tracing and quarantining their contacts are essential steps to curb the spread of the virus.

The pandemic has killed at least 690,363 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late previous year, with more than 18 million people infected.

The statement by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus ahead of WHO's emergency committee meeting on Friday, July 31, for a fourth to assess the pandemic. President Rodrigo Duterte is reimposing a strict lockdown in capital Manila and surrounding provinces for two weeks starting Tuesday, as the country continues to struggle with rising coronavirus infections which has breached 100,000 cases.

In terms of Covid-19 vaccine efforts, he said a number of vaccines were now in phase three clinical trials and there was hope to have a number of effective treatments that could help prevent people from being infected.

"However, there's no silver bullet at the moment, and there might never be".

The director-general warned that despite several vaccines entering phase 3, the world may need to keep on maintaining certain customs they adapted during the pandemic, like social distancing and wearing masks.

"However, we've also seen how some countries, regions or localities that had a high number of cases are now bringing the outbreak under control".

The WHO head said that, while the coronavirus was the biggest health emergency since the early 20th century, the worldwide scramble for a vaccine was also "unprecedented".

"We know from serology studies that most people remain susceptible to this virus, even in areas that have experienced severe outbreaks.

And the fact that that fire alarm was triggered doesn't necessarily mean that that is where the disease crossed from animals into humans", he said at Monday's press briefing.

The WHO officials said an advance investigation team had concluded its China mission and laid out the groundwork for further efforts to identify the origins of the virus.

The team will conduct epidemiological studies to start in Wuhan City, in the hopes of determining the potential source of the infection in the early cases of COVID-19.

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