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Japan and 13 countries indirectly reject WHO-China COVID-19 origins report

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said,
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "As far as the WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table." (AFP)
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31 Mar 2021 07:03:49 GMT9
31 Mar 2021 07:03:49 GMT9

Arab News Japan

TOKYO: Japan and 13 countries including the USA and Israel, expressed in a joint statement their concern over the recent WHO-convened study in China on COVID-19 Origins, and called for
a swift, effective, transparent, science-based, free from interference and undue influence, an independent process for international evaluations of such outbreaks of unknown origin in the future.

A joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 said on Tuesday that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely.”

“The governments of Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, United Kingdom, and United States remain steadfast in our commitment to working with the World Health Organization (WHO), international experts who have a vital mission, and the global community to understand the origins of this pandemic in order to improve our collective global health security and response,” the joint statement said, indirectly casting shadows on the study announced today by China and the WHO.

The 14 countries also expressed concerns that the international expert study on the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples. Scientific missions like these should be able to do their work under conditions that produce independent and objective recommendations and findings, the statement said.

The statement further called for a renewed commitment by WHO and all Member States for expert-driven phase 2 studies.

“In a serious outbreak of an unknown pathogen with pandemic potential, a rapid, independent, expert-led, and unimpeded evaluation of the origins is critical to better prepare our people, our public health institutions, our industries, and our governments to respond successfully to such an outbreak and prevent future pandemics,” they said.

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