The United States and China again entered a diplomatic collision course on Saturday (13), after the White House asked Beijing to provide data on the early days of the Covid-19 epidemic, saying that ‘she had “serious concerns” about the WHO investigation. World Health Organization) held in the country.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement that it was imperative that the report be independent and free from “changes made by the Chinese government”, echoing concerns emanating from the former administration. President Donald Trump, who even broke with the WHO. – something that successor Joe Biden has already undone.
“Coming back to WHO also means keeping it to the highest standards,” he said. “We are very concerned with how the initial findings of the Covid-19 investigation have been communicated and we doubt the process to achieve it.”
Sullivan added that in order to understand this pandemic and prepare for the next, “China must make its data available from the first days of the epidemic.”
A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy responded with a strong statement, saying the United States has undermined multilateral cooperation and the WHO in recent years and should not “point the finger” at China and other countries that have supported the organization during the coronavirus pandemic.
Beijing hailed the US decision to return to the WHO, but said Washington should stay “at the highest standards” instead of targeting other countries.
A team of 40 scientists arrived on January 14 in the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first identified at the end of 2019. After two weeks of quarantine, the group visited, among other places, the Huanan market and met with experts from the Wuhan Institute. of virology, which studies the virus.
WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus said on Friday (12) that all hypotheses about the origin of the virus are still being investigated after the United States asked to review the data from the mission.
Scientists were unable to determine whether the epicenter of the pandemic was the Huanan seafood market, but said the hypothesis that the virus had “leaked” from a laboratory was “extremely unlikely”.
Last year, Trump’s leadership said they suspected the coronavirus had emerged in a lab in the Asian country, which China firmly denies.
Beijing has refused to provide the WHO mission with raw data on the first cases of Covid-19, according to one of the investigators, which could hamper efforts to understand how the pandemic began.
The group had requested patient data for 174 cases that China identified as being in the early stages of the outbreak in Wuhan city in December 2019, as well as other cases, but had only received a summary, the Australian expert told Reuters. In infectious diseases Dominic Dwyer told Reuters news agency. It was part of the WHO mission.
The Chinese Embassy statement did not mention the data problem. The WHO did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.