Beijing, March 29: China on Monday questioned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's charge that Beijing has helped the WHO scientists to write the soon-to-be-released report on the origins of the coronavirus, saying that Washington is making such allegations to put pressure on the experts team.
Blinken in an interview to CNN on Sunday expressed concern about the "methodology and the process" followed by the forthcoming WHO report on the origin of the coronavirus.
“There is a report coming out shortly by the World Health Organisation. There are real concerns about methodology and the process that went into that report including that fact that the government in Beijing has helped to write it. But let us see what comes out of that report,” Blinken said.
He said there needs to be "accountability for the past" and "focus needs to be on building a stronger system for the future." "I think the issue for us is to make sure that we do everything possible to prevent another pandemic even as we're working through this one or at the very least to make sure that we can mitigate in much more effective ways any damage done if something happens in the future," he said. Coronavirus Origin: WHO-China Study Says Animals Likely Source of COVID-19, Lab Leak 'Extremely Unlikely'.
Asked for his reaction to Blinken's comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that, “China will never accept the groundless accusations and smearing on the epidemic related issues”.
“The US has been making remarks on this. Is it doing so to try to impose pressure on the WHO expert group,” he asked. “I would like to ask which part of the report is written by the Chinese government,” he said.
China permitted the visit of the WHO team in January this year to Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first reported in December 2019 by the Chinese health officials. The visit took place after allegations of considerable delay in granting visas to the delegation.
There was criticism that the experts team followed mostly the data and reports provided by Chinese health experts. China calls the visit of the experts team as joint study to trace the origin of the virus and not a probe. Zhao said, “in terms of origin tracing the China-WHO joint mission visited nine institutions in Wuhan including the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIT)”.
The Trump administration in the past has alleged the coronavirus may have emerged from the WIT, which China has vehemently denied and the WHO experts team said “mostly unlikely”. Zhao said the WHO experts team during its stay in Wuhan had discussions with the medical staff, recovered patients and families of the victims of COID-19 and ordinary people.
“The discussions are made according to the requirements of international experts,” he said. “China has also shown item by item, raw data that needs special attention. The WHO and international experts gave positive evaluation about the joint study. They said the research is open at a scale that is unanticipated,” he said.
“The report is well underway between Chinese and international experts so that we can come to a conclusion on science based manner,” he said.
According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus data, the COVID-19 has affected 127,285,692 people worldwide and claimed 2,785,365 lives.
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