No Evidence Backing ‘Speculative’ COVID-19 Lab Theory – WHO Insists

  • China describes claim as ‘insane’, ‘poison’
  • Trump says proof intact 
WHO’s Executive Director, Emergencies Program, Dr Mike Ryan speaks at a news conference in Geneva. Photo – Reuters

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the United States government has not given any evidence to support President Donald Trump administration officials’ “speculative” claim that COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan laboratory.

This is as the Peoples Republic of China dismissed the claim as “insane and evasive remarks”

The global Health body also admitted that ‘aggressive investigation of wrongdoing’ regarding the virus origins makes understanding the coronavirus pandemic harder

President Trump has repeatedly claimed to have proof the virus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, whereas scientists believe it jumped from animals to humans at a wet market in the Chinese city last year.

In support of Trump’s position, the American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said on Sunday that the US had “enormous evidence” to back the theory. But the administration has not produced it publicly or provided it to WHO.

According to WHO’s Emergencies Director, Dr Michael Ryan, without any concrete proof(s), the claim cannot be seriously considered; adding; “So, from our perspective, this remains speculative.”

“Like any evidence-based organisation, we would be very willing to receive any information that purports to the origin of the virus,” Ryan said, stressing that this was “a very important piece of public health information for future control”.

“If that data and evidence is available, then it will be for the United States government to decide whether and when it can be shared, but it is difficult for the WHO to operate in an information vacuum in that regard,” he added.

Ryan said it was important for WHO to learn from Chinese scientists’ data and exchange knowledge to “find the answers together”, but cautioned against politicising the issue.

“If this is projected as aggressive investigation of wrongdoing, that is much more difficult to deal with. That’s a political issue,” he said.

In an expected strong response, Chinese state media attacked the US claims, with the state broadcaster, CCTV labelling them “insane and evasive remarks” in a Monday opinion piece entitled: “Evil Pompeo is wantonly spewing poison and spreading lies.”

The state-backed Global Times also published an editorial accusing Pompeo and Trump of “bluffing”, and said if the US had evidence it should present it.

“If Washington has solid evidence, then it should let research institutes and scientists examine and verify it,” the editorial said.

The Global Times’ editor, Hu Xijin, tweeted that demands to investigate the Wuhan lab were an attempt to “fool the American people”. From The Gjuardian

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