WHO slams critics of COVID-19 origins probe

GENEVA: The World Health Organization on Monday (Feb 1) blasted critics of its investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and challenged these claiming to know higher to come back ahead with the smoking gun.

A WHO investigative staff is in Wuhan, China – the place the primary circumstances have been found in December 2019 – making an attempt to piece collectively how the virus jumped from animals to people earlier than occurring to kill greater than two million individuals.

The UN company’s emergencies director Michael Ryan hit out at these sniping on the mission, and stated individuals claiming they’ve information on how the pandemic broke out ought to emerge from the shadows.

Ryan stated many critics have been saying they “won’t accept the report when it comes out”, or that there’s “other intelligence available that may show different findings” on how the virus broke out.

“If you have the answers … please let us know,” Ryan instructed a press convention from the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva.

He requested how accountable it was “to say you won’t accept a report before it’s even written? To say that you have intelligence that has not been provided?”

READ: COVID-19: WHO team in Wuhan hold “good discussions” with Chinese counterparts

READ: WHO probe team visits Wuhan market at heart of first COVID-19 outbreak

The WHO mission comes with heavy political baggage – China refused the staff entry till mid-January and there are query marks over what the consultants can hope to seek out, one yr on.

Beijing is eager to place the deal with its restoration from the outbreak. The staff toured a propaganda exhibition celebrating China’s restoration from the pandemic in Wuhan on Saturday.

Ryan was responding to a query which referenced new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who earlier Monday instructed NBC that China was falling “far short of the mark”.

“China has to step up and make sure that it is being transparent, that it is providing information and sharing information, that it is giving access to international experts and inspectors,” Blinken stated.

“Its failure to do that is a real problem.”

Ryan stated the staff within the area deserved worldwide help, and within the meantime, “it’s time for people who say and think they have information to start providing it”.

He added that every one infectious illness investigations discover information that then throws up additional questions.

“It’s a detective story,” he stated.

READ: China sees new COVID-19 cases fall to more than 3-week low

READ: China temporarily bars entry of foreigners travelling from Canada


The knowledgeable staff in Wuhan has now began investigations on the bottom, notably visiting the Huanan seafood market the place one of the primary reported clusters of infections emerged, and the hospital the place early sufferers have been handled.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, stated the staff could be visiting the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Former US president Donald Trump pushed an unsubstantiated principle that the virus escaped from the ability.

The staff are having “very productive discussions with Chinese counterparts, visiting different hospitals around Wuhan”, Van Kerkhove stated.

“They had a very good visit to the market, seeing first-hand the stalls and walking through.”

Van Kerkhove stated they’d additionally met with counterparts from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“They will visit the Institute of Virology. That is being planned,” she added.

Meanwhile WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated it was “encouraging” that the worldwide quantity of new coronavirus circumstances had fallen for the third week in a row.

“It shows this virus can be controlled, even with the new variants in circulation,” he stated.

However, “we have been here before”, he warned.

“Over the past year, there have been moments in almost all countries when cases declined, and governments opened up too quickly and individuals let down their guard, only for the virus to come roaring back.”

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