China can not settle for the World Health Organization’s plan for the second part of a research into the origins of COVID-19, a senior Chinese well being official mentioned Thursday.
Zeng Yixin, the vice minister of the National Health Commission, mentioned he was “rather taken aback” that the plan consists of additional investigation of the idea that the virus may need leaked from a Chinese lab.
He dismissed the idea as a hearsay that runs counter to frequent sense and science.
“It is impossible for us to accept such an origin-tracing plan,” he mentioned at a information convention known as to deal with the COVID-19 origins concern.
The seek for the origins of the virus has change into a diplomatic concern that has worsened China’s relations with the U.S. and plenty of of its allies. The U.S. and others say that China has not been clear about what occurred within the early days of the pandemic. China accuses critics of politicizing a problem that must be left to scientists.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, acknowledged final week that it was untimely to rule out a possible hyperlink between the pandemic and a leak from a Chinese authorities lab in Wuhan, the town the place the illness was first detected in late 2019.
Most specialists do not assume a lab leak is the probably trigger. The query is whether or not the likelihood is so distant that it must be dropped, or whether or not it deserves additional research.
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The first phase was conducted earlier this year by an international team of scientists who came to Wuhan to work with their Chinese counterparts. The team was accused of bowing to demands from the Chinese side after it initially indicated that further study wasn’t necessary.
Zeng said the Wuhan lab has no virus that can directly infect humans and noted that the WHO team concluded that a lab leak was highly unlikely. He added that speculation that staff and graduate students at the lab had been infected and might have started the spread of the virus in the city was untrue.
Lab director denies designing novel coronavirus
Yuan Zhiming, the director of the biosafety lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said they had not stored or studied the new coronavirus before the outbreak.
“I want to emphasize that … the Wuhan Institute of Virology has never designed, made or leaked the novel coronavirus,” he said.
The WHO team concluded that the virus most likely jumped from animals to humans, probably from bats to an intermediate animal. The experts visited markets in Wuhan that had sold live animals, and recommended further study of the farms that supplied the market.
“In the next step, I think animal tracing should still be the priority direction. It is the most valuable field for our efforts,” Liang Wannian, who headed the Chinese side, said at Thursday’s news conference.
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Tedros mentioned final week that he hoped for higher co-operation and entry to information from China. “We are asking China to be transparent, open and co-operate, especially on the information, raw data that we asked for in the early days of the pandemic,” he mentioned.
His phrases have been echoed on the identical digital information convention by Germany’s well being minister, Jens Spahn, who known as on China to accentuate co-operation within the seek for the origin of the virus.
Zeng mentioned China has all the time supported “scientific virus tracing” and needs to see the research prolonged to different international locations and areas. “However, we are opposed to politicizing the tracing work,” he mentioned.
China has regularly sought to deflect accusations that the pandemic originated in Wuhan and was allowed to unfold by early bureaucratic missteps and an tried coverup.
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Government spokespersons have known as for an investigation into whether or not the virus may need been produced in a U.S. navy laboratory, a concept not extensively shared within the scientific neighborhood.
China has largely ended native transmission of COVID-19 by lockdowns and mask-wearing necessities, and has now administered greater than 1.Four billion doses of Chinese vaccines. Just 12 new domestically unfold instances have been reported Thursday and China says its demise toll from the virus has remained unchanged for months at 4,636.