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China lashes out at WHO over accusations it withheld COVID-19 information

Shen Hongbing
Shen Hongbing Copyright Mark Schiefelbein/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Mark Schiefelbein/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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China lashed out at the World Health Organization for its latest accusation that China withheld crucial data concerning the origin of COVID-19.

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China has lashed out at the World Health Organization for its latest accusation that China withheld crucial data concerning the origin of COVID-19.

Shen Hongbing, Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control told a press conference that China provided all the available information during a weeks-long joint study on the pandemic’s origins in 2021.

“We have not concealed any case, sample and the testing and analysis results,” he said.

Shen said the source of COVID-19 had yet to be found, but he noted it took years to identify the AIDS virus and its origin still is unclear.

“Some forces and figures who instigate and participate in politicizing the traceability issue and attempting to smear China should not assume that the vision of the scientific community around the world will be blinded by their clumsy manipulation,” Shen said.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead on COVID-19, has said she believes China had data it had not shared, including on the wild and farmed animal trade at a market in Wuhan where the pandemic started.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Thursday called on China to immediately share the withheld data.

“This is totally against the spirit of science and is rude and disrespectful to all the scientists from different countries who participated in the preliminary work of the origin tracing,” said Shen.

“It is a manifestation of politicizing the origin tracing of COVID-19", he added.

Zhou Lei, a researcher of the China CDC who was a member of the joint experts group of China and WHO on the origin tracing mission in 2021, said such accusations will damage the credibility of the WHO.

In response to the report that genetic material collected at an animal market in Wuhan show raccoon dog DNA commingled with the virus, Tong Yigang, a Chinese animal disease expert also involved in the 2021 joint study, told the press conference that the evidence was not sufficient to prove the origin of the virus.

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