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China says WHO plan to audit labs in Covid origins probe ‘arrogant’


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US is pushing for investigation of Wuhan Institute of Virology

SAMAA |
AFP – Posted: Jul 22, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 hours ago

Posted: Jul 22, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 hours ago



China on Thursday said a WHO proposal to audit Chinese
labs as part of further investigation into the origins of the coronavirus
pandemic showed “disrespect” and “arrogance towards
science”.

The World Health Organization on Friday said a second stage
of the international probe should include audits of Chinese labs, amid
increasing pressure from the United States for an investigation of the Wuhan
Institute of Virology and ahead of a weekend visit to China by US Deputy
Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.

The proposal outlined by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom
Ghebreyesus included “audits of relevant laboratories and research
institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in
December 2019” — referring to the Chinese city of Wuhan.

China’s vice health minister Zeng Yixin on Thursday said at
a press conference that he was “extremely surprised” by the proposal,
which he said showed “disrespect for common sense and arrogance towards
science”.

Long derided as a right-wing conspiracy theory, and
vehemently rejected by Beijing, the idea that Covid-19 may have emerged from a
lab leak has been gaining momentum.

Beijing has repeatedly insisted that a leak would have been
“extremely unlikely”, citing the conclusion reached by a joint
WHO-Chinese mission to Wuhan in January.

Yuan Zhiming, director of the National Biosafety
Laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, told Thursday’s press conference
“no pathogen leakage or staff infection accidents have occurred”
since the lab opened in 2018.



 

 

 

 



 

 

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