Search for Covid origins 'being poisoned by politics': WHO

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: May 28, 2021, 11:43 PM(IST)

The findings of a WHO-led mission to Wuhan, China to investigate the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are expected in mid-March, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

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WHO is under pressure to launch a new, in-depth investigation on origins of the pandemic. No timeline has currently been set for the next stage in this probe

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday that efforts to uncover origins of Covid-19 pandemic were being hampered by politics. The agency insisted that scientists needed some space to work on solving the mystery.

"We would ask that we separate the science from the politics, and let us get on with finding the answers that we need in a proper, positive atmosphere," WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan told reporters.

"This whole process is being poisoned by politics," he warned. 

WHO is under pressure to launch a new, in-depth investigation on origins of the pandemic. No timeline has currently been set for the next stage in this probe.

Earlier this week, US President Joe Biden this week ordered US intelligence community to investigate Covid-19 virus first emerged in China from an animal source or from a laboratory accident.

The move hints at growing impatience with waiting for a conclusive WHO investigation into how the pandemic that has killed more than 3.5 million people worldwide began. 

During an ongoing meeting of WHO member states, European Union countries and a range of others also pressed for clarity on the next steps in the organisation's efforts to solve the mystery, seen as vital to averting future pandemics.

'No timeline'

However, WHO said on Friday that it was still waiting for recommendations from a team of WHO technical experts on how to move forward.

"The technical team will prepare a proposal for the next studies that will need to be carried out and will present that to the director-general," spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told reporters.

"He will then work with member states about the next steps," she said, acknowledging "there is no timeline".

The WHO finally managed to send a team of independent, international experts to Wuhan in January, more than a year after Covid-19 first surfaced there in late 2019, to help probe the pandemic origins.

(With inputs from agencies)

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