China warns US against ‘politicising’ WHO virus probe

2021-01-28 08:21:15

BEIJING: WHO experts probing the origins of the coronavirus must be allowed to work free from “political interference“, Beijing said Thursday, in a rebuke to the White House, as the team’s closely watched mission began.
China hopes the US can “respect facts and science, respect the hard work of the WHO international… expert team”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijan told reporters, and allow them to work “free from political interference”.
A team of experts from the World Health Organization left quarantine in Wuhan to begin a heavily scrutinised probe into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, after Washington urged a “robust and clear” investigation.
The group started a two-week quarantine on arrival on January 14 in the central Chinese city where the first known cluster of virus cases emerged in late 2019.
Wearing masks, they peered at the ranks of waiting media from the window of a bus which whisked them from the quarantine hotel — although it was not immediately clear when and where their investigation will start.
The virus is believed to have come from bats and to have initially spread from a wet market in Wuhan where wild animals were sold as food.
The WHO insists the visit will be tightly tethered to the science of how the virus — which has killed more than two million people and laid waste to the global economy — jumped from animals to humans.

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