“Not scientific”: China’s government rejects WHO plan for COVID origins study
A top Chinese health official said Thursday the government doesn’t accept World Health Organization plans for a follow-up investigation into COVID-19’s origins — labeling a theory that it started from a laboratory leak a “rumor,” per AP.
Why it matters: National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin’s comments come days after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was “too early” to rule out the lab leak theory and proposed a second phase of study into the virus’ origins.
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Flashback: Tedros said last week that uncovering the coronavirus’ origins was “a scientific exercise that must be kept free from politics,” according to Reuters.
“For that to happen, we expect China to support this next phase of the scientific process by sharing all relevant data in a spirit of transparency,” he said.
The big picture: The debate over the origins of the coronavirus has gained traction in recent months following previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence that three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill enough to be hospitalized in November 2019, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal in May.