Dhe Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, found unusually critical words on Tuesday during the presentation of the report on the search for the origin of the coronavirus in Wuhan. Members of the WHO delegation reported to him “difficulties in accessing raw data,” he said. This referred to detailed information about the first known corona patients in Wuhan and about potential earlier cases from the months of October and November. “I expect more timely and comprehensive data to be shared in future collaborative studies,” added Tedros.
Political correspondent for China, North Korea and Mongolia.
For a man who a few months ago had highly praised China’s handling of the virus, it was a remarkable change, possibly due to the return of the United States to the WHO. But Tedros wasn’t finished with that. What is in the report of the “joint mission” of the WHO and China about the hypothesis of a possible laboratory accident as the origin of the pandemic, Tedros rejected as “not far-reaching enough”. Further data and studies are needed.
China does not release the raw data
Even before the report was published on Tuesday, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had expressed “real concerns about the methodology and the process” of the investigation in Wuhan. It is also questionable that the Chinese government “apparently helped to write (the report),” Blinken told CNN on Sunday. A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused the United States of “putting pressure on WHO experts by constantly yelling at the world”. The extent to which the content of the report was struggled behind the scenes can also be seen from the fact that its publication has been postponed several times.
The 120-page long study with more than 200 pages of annexes contains a wealth of scientific details, but offers little new on the crucial questions. The WHO delegation announced the most important findings at the end of its 28-day research in Wuhan in February. Accordingly, it is considered “likely to very likely” that the Sars-CoV2 virus, which has so far killed more than 2.8 million people worldwide, jumped from a bat via an intermediate host to humans.
The wildlife trade is considered to be a possible means of distribution. In southern China and Southeast Asia there are wildlife farms in the vicinity of relevant bat habitats. Tedros warned that the wildlife trade should be thoroughly investigated and that the traders and breeders involved should be interviewed. It is still unclear which animal comes into question as an intermediate host. In addition to pangolins, mink and cats were found to be “highly susceptible” to the virus.