No China participation for WHO second study on COVID-19 origin

On Thursday, a top Chinese health official Zeng Yixin said that its government will not be a part of the second phase of a World Health Organization (WHO) study on the origins of COVID-19. The Chinese government refused to cooperate with the second phase of investigations after the proposal included studying the possibility that the virus might have leaked from a Wuhan laboratory.

 

Zeng Yixin, deputy head of China’s National Health Commission, addressed a press conference in Beijing and said that he had been “surprised” to see the lab leak was a research objective in the second phase of the investigation and said that it was impossible for them to accept such a plan.

 

In March, the WHO released an initial report on the origins of the coronavirus. It said that the virus most probably originated from an animal and then spread to humans sometime in December 2019. However, many world leaders including those of the G7, said that the report was not thorough.

 

Around the same time Peter Ben Embarek, one of the team members of the study had said at a news briefing that the lab leak theory had not received “the same depth of attention and work” as other hypotheses that were initially proposed.

 

On July 15, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyseus has asked China to co-operate with the new investigations on the origins of COVID-19 mentioning that the earlier investigation had faced obstacles including a lack of data on the early days of the pandemic.

 

He said that they asked China to be transparent and open and to cooperate with the WHO team, at a news conference. He also said that they owed it to the millions who suffered and to the millions who died that they should know the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

On July 16, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zao Lijian said that the Chinese government had totally cooperated with the initial investigation and had provided access to locations and data. However, experts and scientists outside China have refuted these claims.

 

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Author Thorkild Tylleskar

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