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China Denies for Further Covid-19 Origin Investigation in Wuhan lab

WHO proposal to audit Chinese laboratories is ‘arrogance towards science’, says Chinese health minister.

xi jing ping

The Chinese government has refused to cooperate with the second phase of an international investigation into the origins of Covid-19, which writes a proposal to research Chinese laboratories as "scientific arrogance".

Chinese health officials held a media briefing on Thursday in response to a proposal by the World Health Organization last week that the second phase of its investigation into the epidemic include "research of appropriate laboratories and research centers operating in the first-person cases identified in December 2019", meaning the city of Wuhan.

At a closed-door meeting with member states last Friday, WHO chief executive Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said they expected China to "support the next phase of the scientific process by sharing all relevant information in a spirit of transparency".

But on Thursday China's deputy health minister, Zeng Yixin, said he was "very surprised" by the proposal, which he said showed "disrespect for the mind and pride in science".

"We will not follow such a plan," Zeng said.

At a press conference, which was widely reported in state media, Zeng said a WHO study conducted in January had successfully ruled out the possibility of the virus in the laboratory. He said research had already found that "there was no evidence" that the virus was man-made and urged investigators to look overseas, accusing governments and the media of political interference.

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"The Chinese government supports science-based academic research, but we oppose the inclusion of politics in early studies," he said.

The idea of ​​a lab - which caused the virus to be leaked, or made into, by the Wuhan lab - was raised by former US president Donald Trump and his colleagues, and was widely dismissed as a valid conspiracy theory. However, research calls for this may have recently found a place, and last week Tedros said the desire to reduce this view was "premature".

Zeng said the aim of the team of independent investigators earlier this year was to find that leak theory was rewarding "absolutely impossible" and there was no "need to repeat the work".

"We hope that in full consultation with the member states, preliminary investigations should be conducted in more places, around the world," he said.

The WHO-China joint campaign in January came after lengthy negotiations, and was criticized for lack of transparency and accessibility, among the requests the investigators were not given.

The mission published a report in late March, which did not come to a firm conclusion about how the virus began to infect humans, but instead presented various theories, finding the most likely scenario for the virus to jump from humans to humans through a medium animal. Another theory involving laboratory leaks in the laboratory was considered “absolutely impossible”, but was rejected. It was later criticized for not exploring the theory of web evolution with sufficient depth.

On Thursday Zeng said the results would "be time consuming" and would keep China fully compliant with all WHO requests. China has repeatedly denied the allegations that it included or blocked the first investigation and response operation when the virus first appeared.

The WHO proposal came amid mounting international pressure, particularly from the US, to further research in Wuhan and in particular the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

In response Chinese officials have pushed for suggestions that the virus originated abroad, blamed the media for filing allegations against the Wuhan Institute, and reopened unrestricted views linking the virus to the U.S. military base, Fort Detrick.

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