World Health Organization team completes survey of Wuhan virus lab

Pablo Tucker
February 4, 2021

One of the World Health Organisation investigators looking for clues into the origin of the coronavirus in the central Chinese city of Wuhan said that the Chinese side has provided a high level of cooperation.

Team members exchanged views with Chinese researchers, including Shi Zhengli, who is renowned for virus-hunting expeditions in bat caves.

"We are very shocked by this and have lodged representations with Canada, asking for a thorough investigation and a clear explanation", said China's foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin to the Associated Press on Monday at a daily briefing.

The team left after around three hours without speaking to waiting journalists.

The WHO team has already surveyed the seafood market in Wuhan, which was linked to numerous infections in the early stages of the pandemic.

"Like many others, I am concerned about what appear to be significant conflicts of interest between members of the World Health Organization team and scientists and doctors in China and how much this will impede an unbiased examination of the origin of SARS-CoV-2", said Dr. Quay. That has led to unproven allegations that it may have a link to the original outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan in late 2019.

Peter Daszak and Thea Fischer, members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), sit in a vehicle arriving at Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 3, 2021.

Beijing has been highly sensitive about the source of the deadly coronavirus, and has sought to cast doubt on the notion that it originated in China.

She has published widely in academic journals and worked to debunk theories espoused by the former Trump administration and other American officials that the virus is either a bioweapon or a "lab leak" from the institute.

Experts suggest the virus may have been carried by bats and passed on to humans via another animal.

However experts insist that the earliest detected cases were in Wuhan and early cases outside of China were found to have travelled from the Chinese city.

New cases of local transmission fell to just 17 on Thursday as Chinese heed government calls to skip family visits and stay put during the Lunar New Year holiday later this month.

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