WHO asks Beijing for “full access” to determine the origin of Covid

The coronavirus has not yet revealed all its mysteries. The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said he was ready to send a new mission of experts to China to uncover the origins of Covid-19, calling, in an interview with the FT, for “full access” . “We are pressing China to provide full access and we are asking countries to raise the issue in their bilateral meetings (to encourage Beijing) to cooperate,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the Financial Times.

He explains that the WHO has already asked China “in writing” “to provide us with information… and we are ready to send a team if they allow us to do so”. The international community has not yet been able to determine with certainty the origin of Covid. If, a priori, the first cases were detected at the end of 2019 in Wuhan in China, two theories clash: leak from a laboratory in the city where these viruses were studied or intermediate animal having infected people who frequented a local market.

Beijing called for transparency

A team of specialists under the leadership of the WHO and accompanied by Chinese colleagues investigated in China at the beginning of 2021. In a joint report, they favored the hypothesis of the transmission of the highly contagious virus to humans by an animal which played the intermediary between the bat and the man, perhaps in a market in the Chinese city.

Dr Tedros subsequently affirmed that “all hypotheses remain on the table”. No team has been able to return to China and WHO officials have repeatedly requested additional data. Dr Tedros has repeatedly affirmed that the WHO does not intend to abandon research and has repeatedly called on Beijing “to be transparent in sharing data, to carry out the necessary investigations and to share the results”.

The WHO lifted the maximum alert level for the pandemic in March. Thanks to vaccines, immunity acquired after contamination, and better treatments, the virus is now much more under control, even if with the arrival of autumn, infections are on the rise again in the northern hemisphere, and new variants have appeared.

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