China rejects WHO inspection of its own laboratories

The Chinese government has rejected a plan by the World Health Organization (WHO) to also examine two laboratories in Wuhan for the origin of the coronavirus. Deputy head of the National Health Commission, Zeng Yixin, on Thursday called the plan “disrespectful to common sense and arrogant to science.” He went on to say, “Under no circumstances can we accept such an origin search proposal.”

Friederike Böge

Political correspondent for China, North Korea and Mongolia.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week proposed new measures to member states. The plan includes five stages, including further studies of animal markets in and around Wuhan and “inspections of relevant laboratories and research institutes in the region where the first human cases were identified in December 2019”. When presenting the plan, Tedros said: “We expect China to support this next phase of the scientific process by sharing all relevant data in a spirit of transparency.”

China is “very surprised”

The deputy head of the Chinese health commission was “very surprised” by the WHO document. He called on the organization to treat research into the origin of the coronavirus “as a scientific matter and to reduce political influence.” He cited the final report of a joint mission of WHO experts and Chinese scientists, in which the hypothesis of a laboratory accident in March was called “extremely unlikely”.

However, CEO Tedros said last week that it was “unwise” to rule out the possibility that the pandemic could have been triggered by a laboratory accident. “I myself have worked in laboratories. Laboratory accidents happen, ”he said. He also complained once again that the WHO delegation that visited Wuhan in February did not have access to raw data of the first known corona patients.

A Comment by Christoph Hein Posted / Updated:, Recommendations: 8 Friederike Böge, Beijing Posted / Updated:, Recommendations: 20 Friederike Böge, Beijing Posted / Updated: Recommendations: 3

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