The Chinese government has announced it will not participate in a second phase of the World Health Organization’s investigation into the origins of Covid-19, after the possibility of the virus leaking from a Wuhan lab was included on the proposal.
The WHO released an initial report from its investigation into the origins of Covid-19 in March, in which it determined that the virus probably originated in an animal before spreading to human beings around December 2019. But the US, EU and G7, questioned the WHO’s report.
United States President Joe Biden has ordered US intelligence agencies to take a new look into how the Covid-19 pandemic began, noting that Western observers have yet to be granted access to key laboratories to determine “whether it was an experiment gone awry.”
But Zeng Yixin, deputy head of the National Health Commission, told a press conference in Beijing on Thursday July 22, he had been “surprised” to see the lab leak listed as a research objective under the second phase of the investigation.
“In some aspects, the WHO’s plan for next phase of investigation of the coronavirus origin doesn’t respect common sense, and it’s against science. It’s impossible for us to accept such a plan,” he said.
Zeng also responded to claims by US State Department that several workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell sick shortly before the first documented cases of Covid-19, saying “no worker or researcher at the WIV got infected by coronavirus.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus joined calls for China to cooperate more fully with a new Covid-19 origins investigation on July 15, saying the first had been hampered by a lack of raw data on the early days of the pandemic.
“We ask China to be transparent and open and to cooperate,” he told a news conference.
“We owe it to the millions who suffered and the millions who died to know what happened.”