China on Friday dismissed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) calls for a renewed probe into the origin of the Covid-19 virus, saying it supported scientific over political efforts to find out how the disease started.
The proposal was also made without full consultation with member states, a senior Chinese diplomat said.
“We oppose political tracing… and abandoning the joint report”, which was issued after a WHO expert team visited Wuhan in January, vice foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu told reporters. “We support scientific tracing,” Ma added.
The Covid-19 virus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 before spreading in and outside China, triggering the worst pandemic in a century.
Ma added that Beijing was always ready to cooperate in tracing Covid-19’s origin and had never rejected cooperation. But China rejects the politicisation of the probe, Chinese state media quoted Ma as saying.
Quoting Ma, news agency Xinhua reported that China is continuing to conduct “follow-up and supplementary” research into Covid-19’s origin as specified in the WHO joint report.
In terms of the next-phase of the Covid-19 origin-tracing work, it should be only done by scientists to find zoonotic origins and transmission pathways, Ma said.
The WHO on Thursday urged all governments to cooperate to accelerate studies into the origin of the pandemic and “to depoliticise the situation”.