Beijing proposes to expand the source of the virus to global experts
NEW YORK-As the World Health Organization is about to issue a report on the source of the new crown virus in China, Beijing suggested that the investigation should be extended to the whole world. Some virologists say that all the known evidence points to China and the call to find the source elsewhere is logically extremely weak. Commentators pointed out that Beijing’s purpose is to stir the muddy waters.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China held a briefing on March 12. Professor Liang Wannian, the Chinese leader of the World Health Organization and China’s COVID-19 investigation team, came forward. In the name of the World Health Organization and China’s joint investigation team, “it is recommended to continue to look for possibilities on a global scale. Early cases”.
Virologist Jonathan Latham, founder of the New York-based non-profit scientific organization “Bioscience Resources Project” and editor-in-chief of the “Independent Science News” website, said that China’s call for this is logically untenable. All evidence shows that the virus comes from China: first, it started in Wuhan; second, so far, all the viruses closest to the new crown (SARS-CoV-2) are nearby, mainly in Yunnan Province, and one in Thailand North. Therefore, in terms of publicly available data, the logic of searching abroad is extremely weak.”
“Beijing’s approach is to stir the muddy water.” said Hu Ping, honorary editor-in-chief of “Beijing Spring”. “The implication is that the epidemic was not transmitted from China, it may have been transmitted from abroad.”
But Hu Ping said that it was Shi Zhengli, a Chinese virus expert who summed up the SARS epidemic and said that the first cluster outbreak was in a hospital. “If in 2019 in other parts of the world, such as the United States, Spain or France, the new crown epidemic occurred earlier than Wuhan, China, medical staff will inevitably have large-scale infections.”
But as we all know, this situation did not happen in other places, but it happened in Wuhan. Ding Xiangyang, Deputy Secretary-General of the State Council of China, said at a press conference on March 6 last year that before the end of January, 3,000 hospital staff in Hubei had been infected with the new crown virus.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China stated that this was a suggestion made by the “WHO-China” team, but in fact, since the WHO investigating experts in China left Beijing, the original hypothesis of laboratory escape was “extremely impossible”. The tone has been loosened.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made it clearer at a briefing on February 12 that “all assumptions are still open and require further analysis and research.”
It has been more than a month since the WHO investigation mission to China left China. The group originally planned to issue a preliminary report, but then suddenly stopped.
The Biden administration welcomes this. White House spokesperson Shaqi said at a press conference on March 5 that this is a positive development.
Agence France-Presse reported on March 14 that in the search for the source of the virus, the US and China have been engaged in a tug of war after the front desk. “The diplomats of the United States and China have faced each other more than once while waiting for the report. Transparency, the other side insists that the task can only be accomplished with Beijing’s scientific cooperation.”
In fact, it is not only the United States. Earlier, some international scientists issued a call for the WHO to launch a new investigation into the origin of the new coronavirus.
Europe has also put pressure on the WHO-China joint investigation report. According to Agence France-Presse, the European Union’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Walter Stevens, recently called for the report to be “fully transparent” and answer questions that “all of us have”.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing on the 12th, convening more than 40 diplomats in China from 29. European countries and the European Union, and continued to emphasize that the new crown virus is “most likely” introduced through intermediate host species, and “most likely” is through direct transmission or The introduction of cold-chain food is “very unlikely” from a viewpoint that was introduced through laboratory events.
The South China Morning Post, which is controlled by the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, quoted commentators on March 15 as saying that the purpose of this briefing was to try to reduce Western “misunderstandings” of China and resolve “discriminatory remarks” against China.
Virologist Rutham said that the information released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing indicated that China had searched the origin of the zoonotic virus nationwide, but could not find evidence. “Therefore, this is its internal reason for investigating abroad.”
“If China has evidence of the source of the zoonotic virus, they will definitely put it forward immediately to refute the hypothesis of laboratory escape,” Rutham said in a written interview with Voice of America.
According to Rutham’s analysis, some mild suggestions were made from the WHO in the recent press conference and subsequent interviews. For example, it was suggested that China should search farms near Wuhan, track the market’s food chain to find signs of the virus, and determine Looking at more early patients, “This shows that there is collusion between the WHO and China, the purpose is to avoid losing face to each other.”