BEIJING (AP) — China fired again on the U.S. on Sunday over allegations from the White House that Beijing withheld some details about the coronavirus outbreak from World Health Organization investigators.
In an announcement on Saturday, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated Washington had “deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the COVID-19 investigation were communicated and questions about the process used to reach them.”
“It is imperative that this report be independent, with expert findings free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government,” he stated, referring to the WHO mission investigating the origins of the pandemic within the central metropolis of Wuhan, the place the coronavirus was first detected late in 2019.
“To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, China must make available its data from the earliest days of the outbreak.” Sullivan’s assertion stated.
China responded Sunday with an announcement from its Washington Embassy that stated the U.S. had already “gravely damaged international cooperation on COVID-19” and was now “pointing fingers at other countries who have been faithfully supporting the WHO and at the WHO itself.”
While it welcomed President Joe Biden’s resolution to reverse the Trump administration’s transfer to go away the WHO, China hopes the U.S. will “hold itself to the highest standards, take a serious, earnest, transparent and responsible attitude, shoulder its rightful responsibility, support the WHO’s work with real actions and make due contribution to the international cooperation on COVID-19,” the assertion stated.
Following allegations of Chinese withholding of information in The New York Times and different media shops, investigation staff member Peter Daszak tweeted, “This was NOT my experience on @WHO mission.”
“As lead of animal/environment working group I found trust & openness w/ my China counterparts. We DID get access to critical new data throughout. We DID increase our understanding of likely spillover pathways,” Daszak tweeted.
Another staff member, Thea Koelsen Fischer of Denmark, additionally stated that had not been her expertise and implied some feedback had been misrepresented within the media.
“We DID build up a good relationship in the Chinese/Int Epi-team! Allowing for heated arguments reflects a deep level of engagement in the room. Our quotes are intendedly twisted casting shadows over important scientific work,” Fischer tweeted.
While in Wuhan, Koelsen Fischer stated she didn’t get to see the uncooked knowledge and needed to depend on an evaluation of the info that was introduced to her. But she stated that may be true in most international locations.
The British-born Daszak, a zoologist who now works in New York, affirmed Fischer’s remarks, tweeting: “It’s disappointing to spend time w/ journalists explaining key findings of our exhausting month-long work in China, to see our colleagues selectively misquoted to fit a narrative that was prescribed before the work began. Shame on you @nytimes.”
Daszak had beforehand labored with the deputy director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Shi Zhengli, to trace down the origins of extreme acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which originated in China and led to the 2003 outbreak of the illness. He earlier informed The Associated Press that the WHO staff loved a higher stage of openness than that they had anticipated, and that they have been granted full entry to all websites and personnel they requested.
The 10-nation WHO staff final week departed Wuhan after practically a month. It visited markets, hospitals and analysis facilities, together with the extremely safe Wuhan Institute of Virology that has been the topic of hypothesis due to its giant assortment of bat virus specimens.
In their feedback whereas in China, staff members stated that they had some new insights into the origins of the pandemic that has killed greater than 2.3 million individuals, however that main questions are nonetheless unanswered.
The mission was supposed to be an preliminary step within the technique of understanding the origins of the virus, which scientists have posited could have handed to people by a wild animal, akin to a pangolin or bamboo rat. They stated transmission instantly from bats to people or by the commerce in frozen meals merchandise are additionally prospects, however an alternate principle that the virus leaked from a Chinese lab was unlikely.
The WHO staff’s go to was politically delicate for Beijing, which is anxious about being blamed for alleged missteps in its early response to the outbreak. An AP investigation has discovered that the Chinese authorities put limits on analysis into the outbreak and ordered scientists to not communicate to reporters.
This story has been corrected to point out that the White House nationwide safety adviser’s assertion was issued on Saturday, not Friday.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to develop into a founding member and assist form HuffPost’s subsequent chapter