14 countries criticise WHO, China joint report on COVID-19 origin
DHARAMSALA, 31 March: As many as 14 countries have heavily criticised the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report on the origins of Covid-19 and concurred that the investigation was “significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples.”
The 14 countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Israel
Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia and the United Kingdom stated in a joint statement that it was “essential that we voice our shared concerns that the international expert study on the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples,” media reports said.
The group has however declared that they fully “support” the WHO’s efforts to bring an end to the pandemic, including understanding how it “started and spread.”
Holding China accountable for “withholding access to complete, original data and samples,” the statement added that “going forward, there must now be a renewed commitment by WHO and all Member States to access, transparency, and timeliness.”
The development came after the long-awaited report by experts appointed by the WHO and their Chinese counterparts concluded that the COVID-19 probably came to humans from animals and declaring a lab leak “extremely unlikely” as the cause of the pandemic.
Additionally, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has also concurred on Tuesday that “data was withheld from WHO investigators who travelled to China to research the origins of the coronavirus epidemic.”
“In my discussions with the team, they expressed the difficulties they encountered in accessing raw data,” Tedros has said and added that “I expect future collaborative studies to include more timely and comprehensive data sharing.”
Notwithstanding the report that concluded a laboratory leak as the “least likely hypothesis,” Tedros has stated that “this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy.”
The COVID-19 pandemic that originated from Wuhan, China has so far infected over 127 million people across the world and killed 2.80 million people according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University.
“Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy,” Tedros said.