China rejects WHO program for the next phase of COVID-19 origin study

Video Source: YouTube, WKRN News 2

Ken Moritsugu

Chinese officials said Thursday that they could not accept the World Health Organization’s plan for the second phase of research on the origin of COVID-19.

Zeng Yixin, deputy minister of the National Health Commission, said the plan was “quite surprised” to include further investigation into the theory that the virus may have leaked from a Chinese laboratory.

He dismissed Labreak’s idea as a rumor contrary to common sense and science.

“It is impossible for us to accept such an origin tracking program,” he said at a press conference called to address the COVID-19 origin issue.

Finding out where the virus came from has become a diplomatic issue, deteriorating relations between China and the United States and many US allies. The United States and others have said China lacks transparency about what happened in the early days of the pandemic. China has blamed critics for trying to politicize issues that should be left to scientists, blaming the pandemic.

WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week there was a “premature push” after the first phase of the study to rule out the theory that the virus may have escaped from the Chinese government laboratory in Wuhan. I admitted. The city where the disease was first detected in late 2019.

Most experts don’t think it’s likely due to a lab leak. The question is, is that possibility so far away that it needs to be removed, or is it worth further investigation?

The first phase was conducted earlier this year by an international team of scientists who came to Wuhan to work with their Chinese counterparts. The team was initially accused of succumbing to demands from the Chinese side after showing that further research was not needed.

Mr. So said there were no viruses in the Wuhan Institute that could directly infect humans, and the WHO team concluded that there were few leaks in the institute. He added that speculation that laboratory staff and graduate students were infected and might have started spreading the virus in the city is not true.

Yuan Jimin, director of the Wuhan Institute of Vessel Biosafety Lab, said he had not stored or studied the new coronavirus before the outbreak. “I would like to emphasize …. The Wuhan Institute of Vessels has never designed, manufactured, or leaked a new coronavirus,” he said.

The WHO team concluded that the virus was likely to have leapt from animals to humans, and perhaps from bats to intermediate animals. Experts visited the Wuhan market, which sold live animals, and recommended further research on the farms that supplied the market.

“I think we need to continue to prioritize animal tracking in the next step. Liang Mannen, who leads the Chinese side, said at a press conference on Thursday.

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Tedros said last week he wanted better cooperation and access to data from China. “We want China to be transparent, open and collaborative, especially with regard to the information and raw data we sought in the early days of the pandemic,” he said.

His words were repeated at the same virtual press conference by German Health Minister Jens Spawn. Jens Spawn called on China to strengthen its cooperation in finding the origin of the virus.

Mr So said China has always supported “scientific virus tracking” and hopes that the study will be extended to other countries and regions. “But we are against politicizing the pursuit,” he said.

China has frequently attempted to distract the accusations that pandemics occurred in Wuhan and were allowed to spread through early bureaucratic failures and cover-up attempts.

A government spokesperson is seeking an investigation into whether the virus may have been produced at a US military laboratory. This is a theory that is not widely shared in the scientific community.

China has significantly ended local transmission of COVID through blockade and mask wearing requirements and is currently receiving more than 1.4 billion Chinese vaccines. Only 12 new cases were reported in the country on Thursday, and the death toll from the virus in China remained unchanged for several months at 4,636.


Source: Associated Press, WKRN News 2

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