WHO chief Ghebreyesus insists on proper data on the origin of COVID-19 virus

World Sunday 09/April/2023 11:50 AM
WHO chief Ghebreyesus insists on proper data on the origin of  COVID-19 virus

Geneva: The World Health Organization chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted China share proper data on the origin of the COVID-19 virus and said that all hypotheses remain on the table without full access to the information that China has reported Channel News Asia (CNA).

"Without full access to the information that China has, you cannot say this or that," said Ghebreyesus in response to a question about the origin of the virus. "All hypotheses are on the table. That's WHO's position and that's why we have been asking China to be cooperative on this," he added.

More than three years have passed since the virus first emerged and it remains a top mystery for the world.

"If they would do that then we will know what happened or how it started," said the WHO chief.

The virus was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019 with many suspecting it spread in a live animal market before fanning out around the world and killing nearly 7 million people.

Further, he expressed grave concerns if China failed to provide the data, it was nearly impossible to trace the origin of the lethal virus, CNA reported.

A number of theories have been reported in the media, wherein the maximum reports declared the virus originating from China.

Meanwhile, many allege China has a big market for animals where mammals like bats and other spices have been sold in an open place. Multiple reports claimed that it had originated from the same region.

However, China, on several occasions, rejected the theories. A team from the World Health Organisation also visited the site but it did not publish any concrete report against Beijing.

Data from the early days of the COVID pandemic, briefly uploaded to a database by Chinese scientists, gives information on its origins, including suggesting a role for raccoon dogs in the coronavirus reaching humans, international researchers said.

The WHO's Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for COVID-19, said the latest Chinese information offered some "clues" on origins but no answers. She said the WHO was now working with scientists to find out more about the earliest cases from 2019 such as the whereabouts of those infected, reported CNA.

She added WHO still did not know whether some of the research required had been undertaken in China.

The WHO has also asked the United States for original data that underpinned a recent study by the US Energy Department that suggested a laboratory leak in China had likely caused the COVID-19 pandemic, she added.

Earlier in February, the US Department of Energy reassessed the theory of lab leaks and reclaimed that the lethal virus leaked from a lab in China's Wuhan city in 2019.

The US claimed that China did not make it public "deliberately", resulting in the killing of millions of people across the globe.