China targets US for accusing Beijing of interfering in WHO’s COVID-19 probe
Washington: China has reacted sharply to the US comments on Beijing interfering in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) probe into the origins of the coronavirus and said Washington is “severely undermining” the crucial world health body.
"China welcomes the return of the U.S. to the World Health Organization. The WHO is an authoritative multilateral international organization in the field of health, not a funfair where one can come and go at will. What the U.S. has done in recent years has severely undermined multilateral institutions, including the WHO, and gravely damaged international cooperation on COVID-19," read the statement.
"But the U.S., acting as if none of this had ever happened, is pointing fingers at other countries who have been faithfully supporting the WHO and at the WHO itself. With such a track record, how can it win the confidence of the whole world? It is hoped that the U.S. will hold itself to the highest standards, take a serious, earnest, transparent and responsible attitude, shoulder its rightful responsibility, support the WHO's work with real actions and make due contribution to the international cooperation on COVID-19. The whole world will be looking," the statement said.
The virus that causes COVID-19 probably jumped from animals to humans and is “extremely unlikely” to have come from a laboratory, the head of an international team investigating the origins of the disease said on Tuesday.
Dr. Peter Ben Embarek from the World Health Organization (WHO) was speaking during a press conference in Wuhan, China, at the end of a four-week mission to the city where the new coronavirus first emerged in December 2019.
“Our initial findings suggest that the introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely pathway and one that will require more studies and more specific targeted research”, he said.
Joint expert team
The international team convened by WHO consisted of 17 Chinese experts and an equal number of counterparts from other nations, looking at three areas: epidemiology, molecular research and animal and environment.
They visited hospitals and other sites in Wuhan, including the Huanan Market where the SARS-CoV-2 virus was first detected, and identified four main hypotheses of how it could have been transmitted to humans.
“However, the findings suggest that the laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain introduction of the virus into the human population, and therefore is not a hypothesis that implies to suggest future studies into our work, to support our future work, into the understanding of the origin of the virus”, Dr. Embarek said.