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Chinese embassy in U.S. says politicising COVID-19 origins hampers investigations

Berita 24 English -  Politicizing the origins of COVID-19 would obstruct future investigations and undermine global efforts to contain the p...

Berita 24 English - 
Politicizing the origins of COVID-19 would obstruct future investigations and undermine global efforts to contain the pandemic, China's US embassy said following President Joe Biden's order to review intelligence on the virus's origins.

On Wednesday evening, the embassy in Washington stated on its website that "certain political forces have been fixated on political manipulation and (the) blame game."

As the World Health Organization (WHO) prepares to launch the second phase of investigations into the origins of COVID-19, China has been pressed to expand access to investigators following allegations that SARS-CoV-2 leaked from a laboratory specializing in coronavirus research in the city of Wuhan.

China has repeatedly denied responsibility, claiming the US and other countries were attempting to divert attention away from their own failures to contain the virus.

Biden stated on Wednesday that US intelligence agencies were split on whether COVID-19 "emerged as a result of human contact with an infected animal or as a result of a laboratory accident."

Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, said China's lack of transparency was a major factor in the lab leak theory's resurgence.

"There is nothing truly novel there to substantiate the hypothesis," he explained. "Transparency is critical in the investigation of the pandemic's origins to foster trust in the investigation's findings."


The Chinese embassy stated that it supports "a comprehensive study of all early cases of COVID-19 discovered worldwide, as well as an exhaustive investigation into some secretive bases and biological laboratories located throughout the world."

The Global Times tabloid, owned by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper group, said late Wednesday that if the "lab leak theory" is to be pursued further, the US should also allow investigators access to its own facilities Fort Detrick laboratory.

"They are very clearly attempting to internationalize their way out of this mess," said Jamie Metzl, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank and a campaigner for a new independent investigation.

A joint China-WHO study published in March concluded that SARS-CoV-2 most likely spread from bats to humans via an as-yet-unidentified intermediary species.

China has also maintained that COVID-19 may have originated in another country and entered through contaminated frozen food or southeast Asian wildlife trade networks.

"China was the epicentre of the pandemic," Metzl explained. "Let us begin by conducting a thorough investigation there and expanding as necessary. In a nutshell, this (embassy statement) is an outrageous insult to all those who have died in this terrible tragedy and their families."

CFR's Huang stated that additional investigations into the origins of COVID-19 had reached an "impasse."

"In an ideal world, you'd like China to be more cooperative and transparent," Huang explained. "However, the issue has become so politicized, with the investigation's stakes so high."

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