WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday said that investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China were being hampered by the lack of raw data on the first days of spread there and urged China to be more transparent.
TEDROS: “We are asking actually China to be transparent, open, and cooperate...” The head of the World Health Organization on Thursday said that investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China were being hampered by the lack of raw data on the first days of spread there and urged the country to be more transparent.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said there was a “premature push” to ignore the theory that the virus may have escaped from a Wuhan laboratory.
TEDROS: "There was a premature push to, you know, especially reduce one of the options, like the lab theory.
As you know, I was a lab technician myself, an immunologist and I have worked in the lab, and lab accidents happen, it's common, I have seen it happening and I had, myself, had errors, so it can happen… And we need information, direct information on what the situation of this lab was before and at the start of the pandemic.” A joint report in March by a WHO-led team that spent four weeks in and around Wuhan with Chinese researchers said that the virus had probably been transmitted from bats to humans through another animal.
It said that the laboratory leak theory was “extremely unlikely”, but other countries including the U.S. and some scientists have not been satisfied with that conclusion.
China has called the lab leak theory "absurd" and said repeatedly that "politicizing" the issue will hinder investigations.
TEDROS: "I think we owe it to the millions who suffered and to the millions who died, we need to understand what happened, and I hope there will be better cooperation…” Tedros will brief the WHO's 194 member states on Friday regarding a proposed second phase of study to research the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.