China does not accept the World Health Organization (WHO) plan to further investigate the origin of covid-19 and the theory that the virus was able to escape from a laboratory. At a press conference this Thursday in Beijing, the Vice Minister of Health, Zeng Yixin, has emphatically ruled it out, accusing the international institution of “arrogance” for putting back on the table that hypothesis that China emphatically denies.
Zeng declared himself “surprised” that the WHO proposed a return to Wuhan for the mission that between January and February of this year visited the city where the first cases of covid were detected in the world, and that among the objectives of that trip were specify laboratory theory research.
“In certain respects, the WHO plan for the next phase of investigation into the origin of the coronavirus does not respect common sense, and goes against science. It is impossible for us to accept that plan, ”said the vice minister of the National Health Commission.
The UN international mission that visited Wuhan in January of this year presented its final report last March, in which it considered that the “most probable” hypothesis about the origin of the covid was the leap of the virus from an animal – possibly , a bat – to the human being through a third species that until now has not been determined. The report considered “highly unlikely” the theory of a laboratory leak, the only one on which it did not recommend continuing the investigations.
But already at the presentation of the team’s conclusions document on March 30, the WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, who since the beginning of the pandemic had received accusations of being excessively deferential towards Beijing, surprised by expressing his discontent. on the meagerness of the data that China had provided to scientists and stressing that the laboratory hypothesis deserved further attention. Already then he announced that he would recommend the return of the experts to Wuhan to deepen the investigations and examine in detail the theory of the leak of the virus.
Since then, several Western countries, and especially the United States, have questioned the credibility of the original report and demanded that a new mission be sent to study whether the virus could have emerged from the facilities of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. At the end of May, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, ordered a study from his intelligence services to evaluate the possibility that the origin of the covid was in a laboratory, and gave them three months to offer an answer, a term that ends at the end of August. On June 9, the European Union also opened the door to this hypothesis by declaring its support for the investigation promoted by the US president.
Last week, in a closed-door meeting, Tedros proposed that the second phase of the investigation into the origin of the coronavirus – the first was the international mission in Wuhan at the beginning of the year – include new investigations from WHO experts within China, including “controls of laboratories or research establishments active in the region where the first cases of covid were identified in December 2019”. The senior international official reiterated that “checking what happened, especially in our laboratories, is important” to determine if the pandemic may have its origin in one of them. “I myself have been a laboratory technician, I am an immunologist and I have worked there. Laboratory accidents happen ”, he recalled,“ they are common ”.
The WHO has subsequently pointed out that what is being asked of China is to be “transparent, open and cooperate, especially in the [entrega de] information, raw data that we asked for in the first days of the pandemic ”.
Beijing believes that behind this hypothesis there are political motivations, and ensures that the investigation into the origin of the pandemic should continue, yes, but in other countries. In response to the complaints from Washington, their spokesmen and the media point to the US military laboratory at Fort Derrick.
At the press conference on Thursday, the Chinese Vice Minister of Health appeared to allude to accusations by the United States that in the fall of 2019, shortly before the first cases of covid began to be detected in Wuhan, three workers from the Institute of Virology fell patients with symptoms similar to those of covid. “No worker or researcher at the Institute was infected with coronavirus,” Zeng said at the time.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.