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No need for further WHO virus origins probe: China

Peter Ben Embarek, and other members of the World Health Organisation team, tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), arrive at the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, on February 10, 2021.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

China on Friday rejected the World Health Organization’s calls for a renewed probe into the origins of COVID-19, saying it supported “scientific” over “political” efforts to find out how the virus started.

Pressure is once more mounting on Beijing to consider a fresh probe into the origins of a pandemic which has killed over four million people and paralysed economies worldwide since it first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

A delayed and heavily politicised visit by a WHO team of international experts went to Wuhan in January 2021 to produce a first phase report, which was written in conjunction with their Chinese counterparts. It failed to conclude how the virus began.

On Thursday the WHO urged China to share raw data from the earliest COVID-19 cases to revive its probe into the origins of the disease.

China hit back, repeating its position that the initial investigation was enough and that calls for further data were motivated by politics instead of scientific inquiry.

“We oppose political tracing... and abandoning the joint report” issued after the WHO expert team’s Wuhan visit in January, Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu told reporters. “We support scientific tracing.”

That report said the virus jumping from bats to humans via an intermediate animal was the most probable scenario, while a leak from Wuhan’s virology labs was “extremely unlikely”.

Also Read: The Hindu Explains | What has the WHO team’s field visit to China thrown up regarding the spread of SARS-CoV-2?


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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 12:04:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/no-need-for-further-who-virus-origins-probe-china/article35902901.ece

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