DrThe Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, found unusually critical words on Tuesday while presenting the report on the search for the origin of the Coronavirus in Wuhan. He said that the WHO delegation had informed him of “difficulties in accessing the raw data”. This indicates detailed information about the first known coronavirus patients in Wuhan and about possible previous cases from October and November. “I expect more comprehensive and timely data to be shared in future collaborative studies,” Tedros added.
Political Correspondent for China, North Korea and Mongolia.
For a man who praised China a few months ago for its treatment of the virus, that was a remarkable change, possibly due to the United States’ return to the World Health Organization. But Tedros wasn’t done with that. What was stated in the report of the “joint mission” of the World Health Organization and China regarding the hypothesis of the possibility of a laboratory accident as the origin of the epidemic, Tedros refused, describing it as “not far-reaching enough”. More data and studies are needed.
China does not release raw data
Even before the report was published on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had expressed “real concerns about the methodology and process” of the Wuhan investigation. Blinken told CNN on Sunday that it was also doubtful that the Chinese government “apparently helped write (the report).” A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman accused the United States of “exerting pressure on WHO experts through continuous shouting around the world.” How difficult the content of the report can be behind the scenes can also be seen from the fact that its publication has been postponed several times.
The 120-page study containing more than 200 pages of appendices contains a wealth of scholarly detail, but offers little new about the crucial questions. The WHO delegation announced the most important findings at the end of its 28-day search in Wuhan in February. Accordingly, it is “very likely” that the Sars-Cov2 virus, which has so far killed more than 2.8 million people worldwide, has jumped from a bat via an intermediate host to humans.
The wildlife trade is a possible means of distribution. In southern China and Southeast Asia there are wildlife farms near related bat habitats. Tedros cautioned that a thorough investigation of the wildlife trade was necessary and that the traders and breeders involved should be interviewed. It remains unclear which animal is being questioned as an intermediate host. In addition to pangolins, mink and cats have been found to be “highly susceptible” to the virus.
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