WHO Begins Probe of China over Origin of COVID-19

The WHO team, which is investigating the origins of the coronavirus, began field work in Wuhan on Friday with a meeting with Chinese scientists. Photo Reuters.
The WHO team, which is investigating the origins of the coronavirus, began field work in Wuhan on Friday with a meeting with Chinese scientists. Photo Reuters.

The World Health Organization, WHO, Friday, in Wuhan, started the probe of China on its alleged complicity in the origin of COVID-19. The WHO China mission completed the required two weeks quarantine in a Wuhan hotel Thursday and started its assignment Friday with a meeting with a group of Chinese scientists in Wuhan.

They are expected to do a series of field visits to hospitals, laboratories and the now-closed Huanan market, which was linked to the first cases of the illness in Wuhan.

According to WHO in a tweet, “All hypotheses are on the table as the team follows the science in their work to understand the origin of the COVID-19 virus.” They hoped the team “should receive the support, access and data they need.”

Access is crucial and a lot depends on how much access China will allow the experts to do the investigation. “It is important to remember that the success of this mission and origin-tracing is 100 percent depending on access to the relevant sources,” Thea Fischer, a Danish member of the team, told Reuters Thursday.

“No matter how competent we are, how hard we work and how many stones we try to turn, this can only be possible with the support from China,” she said.

The team is expected to spend two more weeks in the country. They will visit Huanan and Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia, had accused China of inventing COVID-19 and demanded that they be probed by WHO, which was also accused of conniving with China initially to hide the nature and severity of the virus. Former U.S President, Donald Trump referred to the virus as ‘China Virus’ and maintained that it was cultured in Chinese government laboratory. Trump pulled the U.S out of WHO in anger over what he saw as their connivance with China to water down the severity of the virus which enabled it to spread very fast around the world and gave China advantage over other countries in the formulation of vaccines and other pharmaceutical remedies.

Joe Biden, U.S President, has halted the pullout of the country from WHO but U.S still insists there must be a ‘robust’ probe of the origin of the virus and the China connection.

Beijing had repeatedly denied any involvement in the creation of Coronavirus2 and frustrated the international mission to track the origin of the virus which has killed over 2.1 million globally and is not slowing down. China finally bowed to international pressure and allowed the WHO team into the country.

Wuhan, China, is regarded as ground-zero city in the COVID-19 saga and the experts are beginning their investigation in the city.

“It’s imperative that we get to the bottom of the early days of the pandemic in China, and we’ve been supportive of an international investigation that we feel should be robust and clear,” said Jen Psaki, White House spokeswoman, Wednesday.

She alleged “misinformation” from “some sources in China”, which Beijing countered Thursday by cautioning against “political interference” in the WHO mission.

It is alleged that China is trying to hide the facts about the origin of the virus in Wuhan. Some relatives of victims of the virus in Wuhan have accused Chinese authorities of deleting their social media group and intimidating them to keep quiet. It is yet to be seen if Beijing will allow the WHO team access to the relatives of those killed by the virus in ill-fated Wuhan.

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