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China angling to put blame on Italy over COVID-19 origins

With the World Health Organisation (WHO) focusing its second global study into the origins of the COVID-19 in Wuhan and the Director-General of WHO opining that there has been a premature push to rule out virus might have escaped from lab in Wuhan, China is angling to put the blame on Italy.

In a press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian firmly rejected the request of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to conduct a second study into the origins of COVID-19 in China.

Lijian told the media, “The China-WHO joint research report clearly concluded that the ‘lab leak theory is extremely unlikely,’ and there is broad consensus in the international scientific community on this. The second phase of the work plan still focuses on ‘China’s violation of laboratory procedures that caused the release of the virus,’ while deliberately ignoring earlier cases around the world.”

The Foreign Ministry of China would like the world to focus on the earlier cases that Lijian referred to in his interaction with the media. The case Lijian refers to are acknowledged in the China-WHO joint report of tracing the origins of the virus. Latest studies have shifted the timeline of the virus’ emergence to as early as October 2019 in Italy – months before the first cases were detected in Wuhan at the end of the year. As requested by the WHO, blood samples were re-tested at laboratories in Italy and the Netherlands. Researchers said the earliest sample, collected in October 2019, showed the presence of one type of coronavirus antibody, IgM.

Researchers in the U.S., Brazil, France and Spain have also identified possible red flags. From December 13, 2019 to January 17, 2020, 106 samples of archived blood samples from nine states in the U.S. tested positive for novel coronavirus antibodies. In Brazil, the virus was detected in sewage samples collected on November 27, 2019. And in Spain, the same results showed up in wastewater samples from January 2020. In France, a throat swab from a patient with hemoptysis admitted to a hospital on December 27, 2019 tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Based on all these facts, China wants investigations should also be conducted in other countries if the WHO needs to dig deeper into the origins of COVID-19

For the second round of tracing, the WHO is calling for the same things it thanked China for in its first report – cooperation and transparency. This has triggered China, and health officials have called it a disrespect for common sense and science.

Dr. Tedros told the media two weeks ago, expressed, that investigating into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China was being hampered by the lack of raw data on the first days of the spread there and urged it to be transparent. “We ask China to be transparent and open and to cooperate. We owe it to the millions who suffered and the millions who died to know what happened.”

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Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com
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