Blinken expresses concern on WHO report over origin of coronavirus

WION Web Team
Washington, United StatesUpdated: Mar 29, 2021, 01:19 PM IST

(File photo) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Photograph:(AFP)

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Blinken said in an interview that China 'apparently helped the World Health Organization write the report'

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday expressed concerns about the ''methodology and the process'' behind a forthcoming WHO report on the origin of coronavirus.

Blinken said in an interview that China ''apparently helped the World Health Organization write the report''.

However, Blinken hinted that the Biden administration will not take punitive action against China for its handling of the outbreak.

While Blinken said there needed to be "accountability for the past" and echoed calls from other Biden officials for Beijing to be transparent about the 2019 outbreak, he noted that their "focus needs to be on building a stronger system for the future."

"I think the issue for us is to make sure that we do everything possible to prevent another pandemic even as we're working through this one or at the very least to make sure that we can mitigate in much more effective ways any damage done if something happens in the future," he said.

His comments mark a sharp contrast to his predecessor, Mike Pompeo and the Trump administration, which had referred to the deadly disease as the "Wuhan virus" and called for China to be punished.

An international expert mission to Wuhan has concluded that it was very likely that Covid first passed to humans from a bat through an intermediary animal, while all but ruling out a lab incident.

The experts said that the intermediary host hypothesis was deemed "likely to very likely", while the theory that the virus escaped from a laboratory was seen as "extremely unlikely", according to the final version of the long-awaited report.