WHO Chief Urges China for ‘Full Access’ in Pursuit of COVID-19 Origins Investigation

RNS: The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called on China to provide comprehensive access to information and resources in the ongoing quest to ascertain the origins of COVID-19, a pandemic that has wreaked havoc worldwide since its emergence in 2020.

Tedros has emphasized the WHO’s readiness to dispatch another team of experts to investigate the origins of the virus. In a statement to the Financial Times, he stated, “We’re pressing China to give full access, and we are asking countries to raise it during their bilateral meetings to cooperate.”

“We have already requested in writing to provide us with information and are also prepared to send a team if they grant us permission to do so,” he added.

Tedros revealed that he personally travelled to Beijing in January 2020 to persuade Chinese President Xi Jinping to permit the initial COVID-19 investigation mission led by WHO experts, under the guidance of Bruce Aylward.

The investigation has been centred on two prevailing theories: one suggests a zoonotic transmission from animals to humans, possibly through Wuhan’s wet food markets, while the other postulates the possibility of accidental virus release from the city’s virology laboratory. To date, no scientific consensus has emerged from this ongoing debate.

Tedros underscored the importance of evidence beyond reasonable doubt, stating, “Unless we get evidence beyond reasonable doubt, we cannot just say this or that.” Nonetheless, he expressed confidence that “we will get the answer. It’s a matter of time.”

In 2021, a WHO team conducted a visit to China to trace the origins of the virus. However, the report from this visit reportedly did not yield conclusive results.
“Regarding the origin study, since they are not granting us full access, we initiated discussions privately, and when they declined to cooperate, we made it public,” Tedros explained.

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