China says it shared Covid-19 data with WHO investigators

Beijing, Mar 31 (efe-epa).- China Wednesday denied it had withheld data or obstructed the work of a team of experts from the World Health Organization to Wuhan, where the first Covid-19 outbreak was detected.

The WHO team was in the Chinese city in January and February to probe the coronavirus origin.

Liang Wannian, who led the Chinese experts to investigate the virus, told reporters that “all available information was provided” to the team.

Now it was time to continue research into the virus’s origin in other parts of the world, Liang said.

On Tuesday, the United States and 13 other countries expressed concern over a WHO report over the origins of Covid-19.

They claimed that the scientific mission was “significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples.”

The controversy erupted after the WHO experts got access only to the reports prepared by Chinese experts, US media reports said.

They were unable to review the original data on which the findings were based.

Had they accessed the data, it would have allowed them to make their conclusions about the virus’s origin and the way it spread, the media reports said.

Liang said the Chinese part of the report was complete.

“It is premature to talk about another mission in China. It will depend on the researchers’ demands and specific plans,” he said.

He praised the WHO report for reaching the “best possible conclusion,” considering the difficulties surrounding the probe.

China would continue working until the origin of the virus was found, said Liang.

The WHO report released Tuesday did not offer a definitive answer about the origin of the virulent disease, with its conclusions pointing to four possible hypotheses.

The possibilities include that the virus may have jumped to humans through one or more animals who functioned as intermediary species.

The probability that it would have jumped directly from the carrier species to humans is low, as none of the suspected animals have carried the same or a sufficiently similar coronavirus.

The report said the Wuhan Institute of Virology studied a coronavirus found in bats and similar to SARS-CoV-2.

It said the disease control center of the city changed its headquarters on Dec.2, 2019, when the lab’s work may have been affected.

The 17 global experts visited the Huanan market in Wuhan, where wild animals were sold. EFE-EPA


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