WHO's plan on second-phase COVID-19 origin tracing politicized: Chinese embassy

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Photo taken on March 30, 2021 shows an exterior view of the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. [Photo/Xinhua]

The work plan of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the second phase of investigation into the origins of COVID-19 is politicized and lacks a spirit of cooperation, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Britain said Sunday.

Responding to the question of why China rejected the WHO's work plan, the spokesperson said the plan "was heavily disrupted by politicization and was a document that lost scientific principles and lacked a spirit of cooperation."

"This work plan still listed the hypothesis that 'a Chinese violation of laboratory protocols had caused the virus to leak' as a research priority," despite the fact that the WHO-China joint mission report clearly concluded that "lab leak is extremely unlikely" and there is broad consensus in the international scientific community on this, the spokesperson said.

"One cannot help but think that this work plan is made to echo the 'lab leak theory' advocated by certain countries such as the United States. And the lack of transparency in the drafting process also added to the suspicion that the work plan is the product of political manipulation," the spokesperson said.

This work plan, put forward unilaterally by the WHO Secretariat, is inconsistent with the requirements of the resolution of the 73rd World Health Assembly, which clearly stipulates that the WHO secretary-general will continue to work closely with member states to identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, according to the spokesperson.

This means that the formulation of the next-phase origin tracing work plan needs to be led by WHO member states, and the WHO has to reach consensus with its member states after full consultation, said the spokesperson.

The origins study is a serious scientific issue that requires the cooperation of global scientists, the spokesperson added.

"We hope the WHO can adhere to the spirit of science, professionalism and objectivity and work with the international community to jointly uphold the scientific integrity of origins study, resist politicization and safeguard the sound atmosphere of global anti-epidemic cooperation," the spokesperson noted.

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