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New Delhi, April 7 – The World Health Organisation (WHO) has slammed China once again, saying the country should have shared viral samples from Wuhan which was the epicentre of the pandemic, immediately, and not three years later.
Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for Covid-19 response at WHO, wrote in the prestigious journal Science that earlier this month, the global health agency learned that scientists in China possessed data on viral samples from Wuhan that had been gathered in January 2020.
“These should have been shared immediately, not 3 years later. The lack of data disclosure is simply inexcusable,” she said.
The WHO continues to call on China and all countries to share any data on the origins of SARS-CoV-2 immediately.
“China has advanced technical capabilities and I, therefore, believe that more data exist that have yet to be shared — on the wild and farmed animal trade; the testing of humans and animals in Wuhan and across China; the operations of labs in Wuhan working on coronaviruses; the earliest potential cases; and more,” Van Kerkhove wrote.
She said the world needs to move away from the politics of blame and, instead, exploit all diplomatic and scientific approaches so that the global scientific community can collaborate and find evidence-based solutions to thwart future pandemics.
China made Covid-19 disease official on December 31, 2019.
Last month, US President Joe Biden signed a bill to declassify intelligence information on the origins of the Covid pandemic, which has so far claimed more than seven million lives globally.
Under the new legislation, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has 90 days to declassify all information on possible links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origins of Covid.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been a major centre of coronavirus research.
The US Energy Department in February concluded with “low confidence” that the Covid-19 virus leaked out of a laboratory in China.
In 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also agreed to the lab leak claim with “moderate confidence”.
More than three years after the pandemic, the origin of Covid-19 remains unclear.