China on Friday rejected calls by the World Health Organization (WHO) for renewed investigations into the origins of COVID-19 that has killed more than four million people and paralysed economies worldwide since it first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
The Asian country says it previously supported “scientific” over “political” efforts to find out how the virus started.
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.
The team failed to conclude how the virus began and Pressure is once more mounting on Beijing to consider a fresh probe into the origins of a pandemic.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said it has never rejected cooperation on tracing the origins of Covid-19, but rejects the politicisation of such a search. Ma told reporters after the WHO team’s Wuhan visit:
We oppose political tracing … and abandoning the joint report… We support scientific tracing.
The conclusions and recommendations of WHO and China joint report were recognised by the international community and the scientific community.
Future global traceability work should and can only be further carried out on the basis of this report, rather than starting a new one.
Ma added that China is continuing to conduct “follow-up and supplementary” research into the origins of the novel coronavirus as specified in the joint report.
The joint report said the most probable scenario was that of the virus jumping from bats to humans via an intermediate animal while a leak from Wuhan’s virology labs scenario was “extremely unlikely”.
Ma rejected suggestions of new lines of investigation.
More: (France24 with AFP, Reuters)