11:30 AM, March 31, 2021
Hypothesis and certainties. From 14 January to 9 February, a group of WHO experts was sent to Wuhan, China, where the first cases of SARS-CoV-2 were reported in December 2019. On Monday, he gave his report on the origin of the disease. This one did not miss the generally accepted researches, but was distinguished by its cautious tone. Thus, experts estimated transmission by an intermediate animal to humans as “very probable to probable”. The virus will pass through a reservoir animal, probably the bat, for this “intermediate animal” that has not yet been identified before infecting humans. While several avenues were discovered in the report, it rejected the hypothesis of a laboratory leak, calling it “highly inappropriate”.
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Difficulty accessing data. Since the beginning of WHO experts’ stay in Wuhan, doubts have arisen about their ability to access essential data independently. The Chinese government’s willingness to share information was at the center of concerns. WHO Director General Tedros Adholm Ghibeyius himself pointed to difficulties in accessing “raw data” and called for “comprehensive and fast data sharing”. At a press conference on Tuesday, the head of the delegation of international scientists, Peter Ben Ambreck, solved the problem. He specifically stated that not all Chinese data can be shared for privacy reasons, adding that he hopes to be able to consult them during the second phase of the study.
Skepticism of the international community. On Tuesday, the United States and thirteen affiliated countries formally expressed “concern” about the report. In a joint declaration, signed by the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, Japan and Norway, among others, they ask China to give “full access” to its data. He condemned the “considerable” delay in one study. If the European Union, for its part, recognized the “useful first step”, it also pointed out that the “late onset of investigations, delays in the deployment of experts and the limited availability of samples and data” dating back to the onset of the epidemic. Critics have not changed and pointed to the report’s failures.
Hypothesis of a laboratory leak? On the same day, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus confirmed the need to investigate the hypothesis of a virus leak from a laboratory in China. While the WHO has long been accused of dealing with Beijing, the director general raised his voice and said he was ready to send a team of specialized experts to the site. Peter Ben Ambreck admitted that no detailed investigations had been conducted on Chinese laboratories. China has always ruled out the possibility of a virus leak from one of its Wuhan labs, but the hypothesis was strongly defended by the US administration headed by Donald Trump. In a statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned the “politicization” of the study by WHO experts that would only harm international cooperation. The regime claims to have shown “openness” during the investigation. It takes a hypothesis outlined by a group of experts on the possible transmission by frozen meat.