Data Withheld From WHO Team Probing Coronavirus Origins In China

Data withheld from WHO team probing COVID-19 origins in China
FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured on the headquarters of the World Health Orgnaization (WHO) in Geneva,...

Data concealed from the World Health Organization investigators traveling to China to examine the origins of the Coronavirus pandemic, the WHO Director-General of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday. The United States, the European Union, and other Western countries immediately called on China to provide “full access” to independent experts for all data on the original outbreak at the end of 2019.

In its last report, written together with Chinese scientists, the WHO team led by scientists who spent four weeks in and around Wuhan in January and February, said that the virus might have been transmitted from bats to humans through other animals and that the lab leak “may not be” a cause.


One investigator has said China refused to provide raw data in the initial Covid-19 case to the WHO-LED team, which has the potential to complicate efforts to understand how global pandemics began. “In my discussion with the team, they stated the difficulties they met in accessing raw data,” Tedros said. “I hope that collaborative studies in the future include division of data that is more timely and comprehensive.”

The WHO mission’s inability to conclude where or how the virus began to spread to people means that tensions will continue about how the pandemic begins – and whether China has helped efforts to find out because the United States has accused them.

“The study of international experts on the source of the SARS-COV-2 virus was significantly delayed and did not have access to original data and samples,” Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Korea, Slovenia, England, America United States. and the European Union said in a joint statement.

Although the team concluded that leaking from the Wuhan laboratory was the most unlikely hypothesis for the virus which caused Covid-19, Tedro said this problem requires further investigation, potentially with more mission to China.

“I do not believe that this assessment is quite extensive,” he told member countries in a speech released by WHO. “In advanced data and studies will be needed to achieve a stronger conclusion.” WHO team leader Peter Ben Embarek told the press direction “very likely” the virus has circulated in November or October 2019 around Wuhan and can spread abroad so far.

“We got access to quite a lot of data in various fields, but of course, there are areas where we have difficulty going down to raw data, and there are many good reasons for that,” he said, quoting the privacy law and other restrictions.

A second phase study, Ben Embarek added. He said the team had felt political pressure, including outside China, but he was never pressed to remove anything from his last report. Dominic Dwyer, an Australian expert in a mission, said he was satisfied there was “there was no real evidence” of a problem at the Wuhan Virology Institute.

The European Union called the study “important steps.” In a statement, Walter Stevens, the European Union ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, called for further study with “timely access to relevant locations and all human, animal and environmental data.”

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