WHO 'very disappointed' by Beijing: the investigation into Covid and Wuhan yet to begin
by Wang Zhicheng

The Beijing government has not yet given permission for experts from the international team to arrive in China. Some scientists, already on their way, have had to return. The rare criticism of China by the WHO after a period in which it was accused of being Beijing’s "puppet". The Chinese Foreign Ministry: We want to make the visit smoother and continue cooperation.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The director of the WHO (World Health Organization) is "very disappointed" that the Chinese government has not yet prepared the permits to allow a team of experts to enter China and begin the international investigation into the origins of the COVID-19.

In a rare criticism of Beijing, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said yesterday from Geneva that some of the team's experts were already on their way to China, as there seemed to be an agreement. "And instead - he added - today we learn that the Chinese government has not yet concluded the necessary permits for their arrival in China". Thus, now some experts have returned to their homeland, others are in third countries, waiting for the situation to be resolved.

The decision for an international inquiry into the origins of the pandemic - closely linked with Wuhan, its epicenter - was taken at the WHO assembly (held virtually) last May, and China did not oppose it.

But in the face of facts, there have been delays by Beijing to allow the formation of the team of experts and now in allowing the group of international scientists to arrive in China.

The great emphasis given to the delay - with a press conference and several comments - perhaps seeks to correct the image that WHO has given so far, of being - as Donald Trump affirmed - "a puppet" in the hands of Beijing, having cooperated with Chinese authorities in lying and delaying the declaration on human-to-human transmissibility of the virus, on the declaration of global emergency, accepting that its experts did not go to Wuhan at the beginning of the pandemic.

According to several observers, this umpteenth episode shows a lack of "transparency and accountability on the part of Beijing".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said yesterday that "there is no need to see too much in this delay." At stake, for her, there is not only a visa problem, but many other aspects to make the visit "smooth". The spokesperson hopes that her country "can confirm the details as soon as possible and advance our cooperation".