LONDON (CU)_The United States and the United Kingdom, along with 12 other countries have criticised the report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s claims over the lack of data access provided by China regarding the study, the 14 nations issued a statement accusing Beijing of “withholding access to complete, original data and samples”.
The report issues by the WHO, in collaboration with Chinese experts, concluded that the virus may have been transmitted to humans from animals, which sparked widespread criticism from various government and international groups.
In their statement, the countries also criticised the delay in the investigation and demanded for independent experts to be granted timely access in future pandemics. They also highlighted the apparent political involvement in the probe, alleging that Beijing was permitted to refrain from providing sufficient data for the investigation.
Meanwhile, the United States has individually urged the WHO to undertake additional measures to uncover the origins of the virus which has already taken millions of lives across the globe.
“There’s a second stage in this process that we believe should be led by international and independent experts,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
“They should have unfettered access to data. They should be able to ask questions of people who are on the ground at this point in time, and that’s a step the WHO could take.”
On the other hand, Tedros too has claimed that further research was required to conclusively rule out that COVID-19 emerged from a laboratory in China.
“Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy,” he said.