10/08/2020, 09.22
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WHO slams Beijing over prolonged delays in international Covid investigation

The Chinese government must approve the list of experts to be sent to Wuhan, the epicenter of the pandemic.  Approved by the UN in May, the mission was due to start in September.  Chinese accused of obstructing the investigation.


Geneva (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The World Health Organization (WHO) is still waiting for the green light from Beijing to send an international mission of experts to China to investigate the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Speaking on October 5, Mike Ryan, director of the UN body's emergency program, said that the Chinese authorities have yet to approve the list of participants.

Last August, two WHO officials worked with Chinese health authorities to prepare the mission.  According to WHO reports in July, investigators were to have travelled to Wuhan (Hubei), considered the epicenter of the infection, a few weeks after that meeting.

An independent investigation into the origin of the pandemic and the work of the UN body during the crisis was voted on at the WHO assembly last May.  A resolution to this effect was supported by the 194 member states of the organization.  It stipulated that the investigation should take place "as soon as possible".

In many quarters China is accused of being the origin of the pandemic and its government is criticized for keeping silent about the health emergency and the human-to-human transmission of Covid-19 for weeks.  US President Donald Trump maintains that Covid-19 comes from a virology laboratory in Wuhan, probably engaged in the study of bacteriological wars, a charge that China categorically denies.  The Chinese government immediately thwarted the investigation, which it considers an attempt to blame it for the outbreak of the pandemic crisis.

Analysts argue that the legitimacy of the international investigation will depend on the composition of the investigation team and how it is conducted.  Many governments maintain that the WHO covered up Beijing's faults in the early stages of the pandemic. The director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is still the subject of strong criticism and has even been termed China's "puppet" for having submitted to and approved its silences.

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