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COVID-19: After WHO's probe in Wuhan, China calls for origin tracing in US

ANI | Updated: Feb 19, 2021 07:01 IST

Washington [US], February 19 (ANI): Following the World Health Organisation's (WHO) remarks on the origin of coronavirus in China's Wuhan city, Beijing has now urged the global health body to do an origin-tracing study of the virus in the United States.
"(We hope) that following China's example, the US side will act in a positive, science-based and cooperative manner on the origin-tracing issue (and) invite WHO experts in for an origin-tracing study," Wang Wenbin, Foreign Ministry spokesman, last week.
Similarly, Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist at China's Center for Disease Control, said the US should now be "the focus" of global efforts to trace the virus, CNN reported.
This comes after a team of WHO experts, who investigated into the origin of the COVID-19 in Wuhan, had said that there is no evidence of coronavirus circulation in any animal species in China.
During a press conference, Peter Ben Embarek, the head of the WHO mission in Wuhan, had stated four hypotheses on how the virus spread but reiterated that "laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus into the human population".

"Our initial findings suggest that introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely passway and one that will require more studies and more specific targeted research ... The findings suggest that a laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus into the human population," the WHO expert had said.
Dismissing that the virus got leaked from Wuhan's institute of virology, Embarek had said, "We also looked at Wuhan's institute of virology ... the laboratory and the state of the laboratory, and it was very unlikely that anything could escape from such a place. We also know that lab incidents are, of course, extremely rare."
The findings by the WHO were slammed by the United States, raising concerns over the possibility of the Chinese government's interference in the WHO's recent investigation into the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan.
"We have deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the COVID-19 investigation were communicated and questions about the process used to reach them," said Jake Sullivan, US National Security Adviser.
He had stressed on the importance of an investigation that is "free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government" into the origin of COVID-19.
"To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, China must make available its data from the earliest days of the outbreak," he had added. (ANI)