Tuesday, 26 October, 2021


United States has 'concerns' on COVID-19 info from China after World Health Organization probe

Coronavirus Africa WHO boss Tedros says all hypotheses still open for probe into coronavirus origins
Patty Aguilar | 13 February, 2021, 20:42

"What we have been told by the different labs in Wuhan that we visited and discussed this with is that none of them were working with or had the Sars-Cov-2 virus in their collections, or in their laboratories".

Peter Ben Embarek, who led the team of independent experts in its almost month-long visit to Wuhan, where the outbreak first emerged at a seafood market in late 2019, said the team's work had uncovered new information but had not dramatically changed their picture of the outbreak.

His statements came days after the return of an investigation team of the World Health Organization from Wuhan, China, where the pandemic first appeared, without announcing any conclusions about the source of the Coronavirus.

New variants are likely to emerge as the virus continues to spread so preventive measures must be maintained even as Africa gears up to start vaccinations against the virus.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that the United States has "deep concern" about how China responded to the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis and is waiting for Beijing to "reveal its data related to the beginning of the outbreak".

The mission has said its main hypotheses are that the virus originated in a bat, although there are several possible scenarios for how it passed to humans, possibly first by infecting another species of animal.

"This illness affects patients with both severe and mild Covid-19", he said.

The team called for further investigation into the possibility of "cold chain" transmission, referring to the transport and trade of frozen food. "The supply chains to the Huanan seafood market were extensive, they were coming in from other countries, they were coming in from various parts of China, so to really trace that back it's going to take some work".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo disclosed in January, based on U.S. intelligence, that workers at the lab were infected by the novel coronavirus in August, months before the first cases in the general public were disclosed.

Peter Daszak and Thea Fischer, members of the World Health Organization team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease, sit in a vehicle at Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, Feb. 2, 2021.

In April, US state department cables came to light suggesting that embassy officials were anxious about biosecurity there.

"The laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely", he said. "I want to clarify that all hypotheses remain open and require further study", he added.

"I think clearly the Chinese, at least heretofore, have not offered the requisite transparency that we need", Price said, adding that the United States would make its determinations based on the World Health Organization data and its own intelligence.

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