W.H.O. Chief Says 'Premature' to Dismiss Coronavirus Lab Leak: Begs China to Cooperate

W.H.O. Chief Says 'Premature' to Dismiss Coronavirus Lab Leak: Begs China to Cooperate

The director-general of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.)  begged China on Thursday to cooperate with the second phase of the investigation into the origins of coronavirus.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for more transparency from the Chinese Communist dictatorship, admitting getting access to raw data had been a challenge for the W.H.O. team that traveled to China earlier this year to investigate the source of the virus.

The first human coronavirus cases were identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan and sparked the initial inquiries, with the W.H.O. being quick to give the all clear back in May, 2020 as Breitbart News reported.

Embattled W.H.O. chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was warmly applauded Sunday by China’s Communist regime. https://t.co/Gu6drtfcFl

— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 24, 2020

Now things are different.

Tedros told reporters the U.N. health agency is “asking actually China to be transparent, open and cooperate, especially on the information, raw data that we asked for at the early days of the pandemic.”

He said there had been a “premature push” to rule out the theory the virus might have escaped from a Chinese government lab in Wuhan – undermining W.H.O.’s own March report, which concluded a laboratory leak was “extremely unlikely.”

“I was a lab technician myself, I’m an immunologist, and I have worked in the lab, and lab accidents happen,” Tedros said. “It’s common.”

China did not share data with the W.H.O. team during the first investigation, he added.

AP reports Georgetown University law professor Lawrence Gostin, an expert in public health law, said Tedros’ unusual plea for Chinese cooperation underlines how weak W.H.O. is.

“W.H.O. has no powers or political heft to demand access to information critical for global health,” Gostin, who also is director of a W.H.O. Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights, “All Tedros can do is use the bully pulpit, but it will fall on deaf ears,” he said, acknowleding the less than stellar effort delivered so far by Tedros and his U.N.-funded team.

UPDATE: A petition calling for the resignation of World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is nearing one million signatures. https://t.co/INFaBju21O

— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) April 12, 2020

Any W.H.O.-led mission to China also requires government approval for all experts who travel to the country, as well as permission to visit field sites and final approval on any trip report.

Tedros’ appeal for transparency was echoed by German Health Minister Jens Spahn, who urged Chinese officials to allow the investigation into the origins of the virus to proceed.

“We do appreciate the cooperation of the Chinese government so far for the first mission,” Spahn said. “But that’s not yet enough.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Simon Kent