China Pledges W.H.O. Coronavirus Investigations Can Begin (Not Just Yet)

WUHAN, CHINA - NOVEMBER 13: (CHINA OUT)The guest visit the model of coronavirus during the Second World Health Expo held on November 13,2020 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Which attracts some 13,000 guests from 34 countries and regions. More than 1,200 exhibitors, including General Electric, Philips and Siemens, attended the …
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Six months after the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) trumpeted a “full, thorough and transparent probe” into the origins of the coronavirus, China on Monday pledged cooperation with the official investigation team – when it finally gains entry to the country.

Local Chinese researchers are carrying out epidemiological studies into early cases and conditions at a seafood market in the city of Wuhan where the virus was first identified last November.

The W.H.O.’s Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response was formed in May to carry out phase 2 studies after initial resistance from China which claimed no study could begin “until the virus was beaten,” as Breitbart News reported.

Reuters reports the United States has since questioned the delay and sought a timeline of the panel’s visit, diplomats said, addressing concerns the inquiry is “too little, too late, and concessions to Beijing are undermining it.”

“We fully expect that we will have a team on the ground. We need to be able to have the international team join our Chinese colleagues and go to the ground and look at the results and outcomes of those phase 1 studies and verify these data on the ground,” W.H.O. emergency expert Mike Ryan reassured the media during a briefing from his Geneva offices.

This would help to ensure “that the international community can be reassured of the quality of the science”, he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump led early criticism of China’s bungled handling of the coronavirus pandemic, while singling out the close alliance between the W.H.O. and China as an impediment to the global understanding of the viral threat:


Ryan agreed the Wuhan market is “likely to have been a point of amplification” of virus transmission, but whether that was by human, animal or environmental spread is not yet known, he said.

“We will pursue those investigations over the next couple of months in phase 1 and hopefully move on to phase 2,” Ryan said.

W.H.O. director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and other senior officials briefed W.H.O.’s 194 member states last week on progress in the probe and its increasingly opaque timeline.

Ryan, without being specific, said: “One member state did express some concerns regarding the phase 1 studies in ensuring that they were completed as quickly as possible. We reassured that member state that that would happen.”

Another Western diplomat said the United States had been “the most vocal”, but the E.U. and Britain had also asked about the timeline.

In September, Twitter blacklisted the account of Chinese virologist Dr. Li-Meng Yan, who preempted the official investigation and claimed coronavirus was indeed manufactured in a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

Speaking with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Dr. Yan later alleged China was covering up evidence the virus came from a lab in Wuhan.

Dr. Yan told Carlson: “They don’t want the people to know this truth. Also, that’s why I got suspended, I got suppression [and] I am the target that China Communist Part wants to [sic] disappear.”

Carlson replied to Dr. Yan stating: “I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt so I’m going to assume you’re not an anti-Chinese racist so it’s not clear why Twitter would shut you down or why you’re being ignored by the rest of the US media.”

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