Investigation into Corona origin: China criticizes the "politicization" of the WHO mission

Investigation into the origin of the corona
China criticizes the "politicization" of the WHO mission

The search for the origin of the coronavirus has long been a political issue. After tough back and forth, the experts from the World Health Organization are now starting their work in Wuhan – and there is direct friction between the USA and China.

China has warned the US government against "politicizing" the WHO expert mission in Wuhan. Scientists must be able to conduct their investigations into the origin of the corona pandemic "free of political interference," said the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, Zhao Lijan, to journalists. The WHO's ten-strong team of experts has meanwhile ended its 14-day quarantine in central China's Wuhan and began investigations.

China hopes that the US will be able to respect "facts and science" and "the hard work of the international team of experts," the ministry spokesman said. He was referring to demands made by US President Joe Biden's spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who on Wednesday called for a "robust and clear" international investigation and expressed "great concern" about "misinformation" by "some sources in China". It is "imperative" that the question "get to the bottom" of how the coronavirus came about and how it spread around the world, Psaki told journalists in Washington.

The international WHO experts traveled to China in early January after long delays. You should search in the People's Republic for the origins of Sars-CoV-2, with which more than 100 million people worldwide were infected and from which more than 2.1 million died. Most scientists assume that bats were the original hosts of the coronavirus. However, it is unclear which animal served as the so-called intermediate host in the transmission to humans. However, experts fear that it may be too late to solve this riddle.

Beijing doesn't want to be a corona scapegoat

The WHO team wants to do interviews and visit hospitals and the market where infections were discovered for the first time worldwide in early December 2019. Traces of the virus were found especially at the booths of the wildlife traders. However, there were also infections that could not be traced back to the market.

As in previous months, the 13 experts held video conferences with their Chinese counterparts from the hotel over the past two weeks. The investigation, made possible only after a long tug-of-war, will be carried out together with the Chinese side. The participants in the mission dampened the high expectations. The main thing is to work with your Chinese colleagues to see what traces can still be followed, it said.

The search for the origin of the virus is considered politically sensitive because China fears it will be denounced as the culprit for the pandemic. Beijing is actually confronted internationally with allegations that it wanted to cover up responsibility for the outbreak of the pandemic. Initially, China refused to conduct an independent international investigation into the origins of the virus.