Tuesday, January 26, 2021

COVID-19: WHO experts in China to probe origins of Coronavirus

Two World Health Organization (WHO) experts are travelling to China to talk to scientists to investigate the transmission of COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic from animals to humans, WHO chief said on Friday.

Addressing a webinar, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the global health experts will also prepare a scientific plan with their Chinese counterparts to identify the zoonotic source of the COVID-19 virus.

“As we continue to tackle the pandemic, we are also looking into the origins of the virus,” he said.

Adhanom said the scientists want to learn about the progress made in understanding the animal reservoir for COVID-19 and how the disease jumped between animals and humans.

“This will help lay the groundwork for the WHO-led international mission into finding the origins,” he said.

The team comprising an epidemiologist and an animal health specialist are flying to China to try and identify the pandemic’s animal source, WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said a UN press conference in Geneva.

Harris said the aim is also to examine from which species of animal the virus originated and then transmitted to humans.

On April 20, WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib had said that so far, all available evidence suggests the virus has an animal origin, and it was not manipulated or manufactured in a lab, or somewhere else. She was responding to allegations that the virus spread from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“It most probably has its ecological reservoir in bats, but how the virus came from bats to humans is still to be discovered,” she said.

Missing intermediary host

“There was certainly an intermediary host or another animal that transmitted this virus from bats to this other animal, to humans, “she said.

Adhanom told international diplomats on Thursday that the member states at the 73rd World Health Assembly held in May had adopted a landmark resolution urging the WHO to initiate an independent and comprehensive evaluation of the lessons learned from the international health response to COVID-19.

“This is a time for self-reflection, to look at the world we live in and to find ways to strengthen our collaboration as we work together to save lives and bring this pandemic under control,” said the chief of WHO.

“The magnitude of this pandemic, which has touched virtually everyone in the world, clearly deserves a commensurate evaluation,” he said.

The WHO had waited for seven months to investigate the source of the virus and this has led to criticism of the organization and American officials accused Adhanom of being too lenient to China.

An earlier WHO mission led by a Canadian doctor Bruse Aylward that went to China in February was criticized in the US for praising China’s in its fight against COVID-19.

Featured

Hours Before Republic Day, India’s DRDO Conducts Maiden Test Of New Akash Missile

Hours before the Republic Day celebrations, India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully conducted the maiden test launch of the Akash next-generation...

Chinese Journalist Calls Latest India-China Border Clash As ‘Fake News’; Indian Media Says PLA, Indian Troops Suffered Injuries

A senior Chinese journalist has rejected Indian media reports about a fresh clash between Indian Army and PLA troops at a border point in...

Did Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei Threaten To ‘Take-Out’ Donald Trump Over Qasem Soleimani’s Assassination?

A Twitter account linked to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was on Friday banned by the microblogging site for posting an image, in...

Russia To Supply Pantsir-S1 Air Defense System To Myanmar Amid Warming Ties With India, Japan

As India and Japan are getting closer to Myanmar militarily to counter China, the Southeast Asian nation has not forgotten its old ally Russia....

​China’s Growing Global Stature As Weapons Producer Threatens Russia’s Export Revenues

China overtook Russia to become the world's No. 2 arms producer between 2015 and 2019, according to data released by the Stockholm International Peace...