The WHO (World Health Organization) said on Tuesday (30) that China had not given full access to the data to the agency’s team that visited the country to investigate the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. In response, the United States, the European Union and other countries urged Beijing to change its position.
“We have come together to express common concerns. The study was significantly delayed and did not have access to complete and original data, as well as samples,” said the statement, signed by Australia, Canada, South Korea, Denmark, Slovenia, United States, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, United Kingdom and Czech Republic.
“There is a second step in this process, which we believe should be led by independent and international experts. They must have free access to the data and be able to ask questions of people in the field. This is a step the WHO should take, ”said Jen Psaki, White House press secretary.
The European Union has also called for a more in-depth analysis. Walter Stevens, EU ambassador to the UN, defended further studies, with “access to relevant places and all available data on humans, animals and environments” that are related to the topic.
In January and February, the WHO sent a team of experts to Wuhan, China, where Covid-19 was first detected, to investigate the origin of the coronavirus.
On Tuesday, WHO director Tedros Adhanom said the envoys did not have full access to the data and called for further investigations. In the final report, experts point out that the virus was likely transmitted from bats to humans by another unidentified animal. The possibility that the virus was created in the laboratory was deemed “extremely unlikely”.
One of the investigators had previously said that China had not given full access to data on the first cases of Covid-19, making it difficult to identify the origin of the disease. The WHO report is not conclusive, the doubt remains and pushes China to reveal more information.
Peter Ben Embarek, head of the WHO team who visited China, said it was entirely possible that the coronavirus was already circulating in October or November 2019 and that it had spread to the foreigner sooner than previously thought. Embarek also said his team felt political pressure, but was not forced to remove information from the final report.