By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 20: The United States on Monday called on China to allow the probe team from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to interview “care givers, former patients and lab workers” in the city of Wuhan, aggravating Beijing. The WHO independent expert team reached Wuhan on Jan. 14 and are currently holding teleconferences with Chinese counterparts to determine the origins of the coronavirus.
The team is expected to start work on the ground after undergoing their two-week quarantine. The US has accused China of covering the extent of its initial outbreak and criticized the terms of the visit under which Chinese experts have already conducted the first phase of research. Garrett Grigsby from the US Department of Health and Human Services said China should share all scientific studies into the animal, human and environmental samples taken from the market in Wuhan, where the COVID-19 virus was first detected in late 2019.
He told the WHO’s Executive Board that comparative analyses of such data would help to “look for overlap and potential sources” of the outbreak. He further remarked on the importance of a critical investigation that is conducted “objectively and transparently.”
China’s National Health Commission Director Sun Yang told the board, “The virus origin studies are of a scientific nature. It needs coordination, cooperation. We must stop any political pressure.” Australian delegation also called for the WHO probe team to have access to “relevant data, information and key locations”.
However, WHO’s executive director for Health Emergencies Programme Mike Ryan told reporters on Friday that there is no guarantee of any answers, “It is a difficult task to fully establish the origins and sometimes it can take two or three or four attempts to be able to do that in different settings.”