Covid-19 origin: Chinese government rejects WHO plan for second phase of origin study

Covid-19 origin: Chinese government rejects WHO plan for second phase of origin study

Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, told a news conference in Beijing that he was “surprised” to see the laboratory leak listed as a research target during the second phase of the investigation.

“In some respects, the WHO’s plan for the next phase of the investigation of coronavirus origin does not respect common sense, and it is against science. It is impossible for us to accept such a plan,” he said.

Zeng also appeared to be responding to U.S. State Department claims that several workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology became ill shortly before the first documented cases of Covid-19, saying “no worker or researcher at WIV became infected with coronavirus.”

The WHO published an initial report from its study of the origin of Covid-19 in March, in which it determined that the virus was likely to originate from an animal before it spread to humans around December 2019.
But a growing number of Western nations, including the leaders of the G7, have questioned the thoroughness of the original report.
U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to take a fresh look at how the Covid-19 pandemic began, noting that Western observers have not yet had access to key laboratories to determine, “whether it was an experiment that went wrong.”

Some new evidence has emerged to support the theory that the virus was the result of an unintentional leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where coronavirus research was thought to be performed on bats, and many researchers familiar with the research say that a such leakage is unlikely.

However, a member of the WHO team that helped oversee the original study said in March that the Wuhan Laboratory’s leak theory “did not receive the same depth of attention and work” as the animal hypothesis.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus endorsed calls on China to cooperate more fully with a new Covid-19 origin survey on 15 July, saying the former had been hampered by a lack of raw data in the early days of the pandemic.

“We ask China to be transparent and open and cooperate,” he told a news conference. “We owe it to millions who suffered and millions who died to know what happened.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on July 16 that the government had cooperated fully with the preliminary investigation and denied allegations that researchers had been denied access to sites or data.

“China’s position on the issue of global origin tracing is consistent and clear. (The origin survey is a scientific topic. All parties should respect the opinions and scientific conclusions of researchers instead of politicizing the issue,” he said.

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