WHO asks China for 'full access' to determine origin of Covid-19

In an interview with the Financial Times, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was ready to send a new mission of experts to China to unravel the origins of Covid-19.

Covid-19 test at a Foxconn factory in Wuhan, August 2021 (illustration). AP

By: RFI Follow


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More than three and a half years after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the international community has not yet been able to determine with certainty the origin of the virus. If, a priori, the first cases were detected at the end of 2019 in Wuhan, China, two theories clash. One concerns a leak from a laboratory in the city where these viruses were being studied. The other, an intermediate animal that infected people who frequented a local market.

To finally shed light on these origins, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asks China for "full access" to its teams, and asks States to support his request. In an interview with the Financial Times, the head of the WHO said that the organization had already asked Beijing "in writing" to provide information. "We are ready to send a team if they allow us to," he explains.

A team of specialists led by the World Health Organization and accompanied by Chinese colleagues had investigated in China in early 2021. In a joint report, they had favored the hypothesis of the transmission to humans of the highly contagious virus by an animal that played the intermediary between the bat and the man, perhaps in a market of the Chinese city. Dr. Tedros later stated that "all hypotheses remain on the table."

No team has been able to return to China, and WHO officials have repeatedly requested additional data. Dr Tedros has repeatedly assured that WHO does not intend to abandon research and has repeatedly called on Beijing "to be transparent in sharing data, conducting the necessary investigations and sharing the results".

WHO lifted the maximum alert level for the pandemic in March. Thanks to vaccines, immunity acquired after contamination, and better treatments, the virus is now much more under control, although with the arrival of autumn, infections are again on the rise in the northern hemisphere, and new variants have emerged.

The Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus exit does not happen by chance. For the first time, the issue of pandemic preparedness will be addressed at the highest level in the coming days in New York at the UN General Assembly.


With AFP)

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