Chinese Embassy Spokesperson's remarks on Indian media reports on joint WHO-China study report of origins of Covid-19 released by WHO
2021/04/02

Q: Recently, some Indian media has reported on the joint WHO-China study report of origins of Covid-19, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India responded to media queries on the report. What is your comment?

A: China has always been a supporter for global scientific research on the source of the virus and its transmission routes. Despite the daunting task of domestic prevention and control, China twice invited WHO experts in for study of origins´╝îand offered necessary facilitation for the team's work, fully demonstrating its openness, transparency and responsible attitude.

In the China-WHO COVID-19 origin-tracing joint study, experts of the joint mission made field trips to institutions including the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control, the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and visited biosafety laboratories and had in-depth and candid exchanges with experts there. Members of the mission unanimously agreed that the allegation of lab leaking is extremely unlikely, and this is an important scientific conclusion made clear in the joint study report released this time.

As for the question of further research, the experts of the WHO mission said that there has always been speculation about lab leak, and work could be done with laboratories around the world if there is further evidence that the hypothesis needs to be reassessed.

The experts also said that the virus may have been spread in places other than China early on, and a global perspective is needed to carry out the origin-tracing work. The report also proposes multiple tasks to be conducted worldwide. We hope relevant countries can cooperate with WHO expert mission in an open, transparent and responsible manner like China did.

As for the issue on accessing raw data, after China and WHO agreed on the Terms of Reference in July last year, China carried out data collection, collation, and analysis in accordance with the suggestions of the foreign experts. The Chinese authorities gathered relevant institutions and several hundred scientists to collect, collate data and conduct initial analysis, and presented item by item raw data of particular concern to the WHO experts. The international experts have also said on many open occasions that they had full and candid discussions with the Chinese side with regard to data issues. As the medical files contain a large amount of information which is personal privacy, relevant data are not allowed by law to be copied or taken abroad, which is common practice in many countries. The international experts said they completely understand. Going forward, China stands ready to continue working with international experts to jointly study and analyze the data.

Study of origins is a matter of science. To politicize this issue will only severely hinder global cooperation in study of origins, jeopardize anti-pandemic cooperation, and cost more lives. It would run counter to the international community's aspiration for solidarity against the virus. Study of origins is also a global mission that should be conducted in multiple countries and localities. We believe the joint WHO-China study will effectively stimulate global cooperation in origin-tracing.

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