A World Health Organization (W.H.O.) call for a new audit of Chinese laboratories previously linked to the first outbreaks of the coronavirus was rejected Monday by Beijing. Instead China claimed the U.S. poses greater dangers and should be the source of future lines of inquiry.
UPI reports Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular press briefing W.H.O. Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ proposal made last week is “different from the position of many countries, including China.”
In February, a team of W.H.O. experts visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where a team of Chinese scientists were studying bat coronaviruses. The W.H.O. team said after the trip the source of the coronavirus “remains unidentified,” as Breitbart News reported.
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Zhao said any new W.H.O.-led audits of Chinese labs should be decided “by member states” even as Tedros begged China to cooperate with the second phase of the investigation into the origins of coronavirus.
“The W.H.O. should fully communicate and negotiate with member states, accept their opinions, while at the same time making the process of drafting work plans open and transparent,” Zhao said.
Last week, the Chinese spokesman recommended investigations into the role of cold chains and the global frozen food trade, according to the Global Times, adding to the Beijing narrative suggesting China has moved on from the crisis.
Chinese state media reported Sunday an online petition is circulating in the country, “demanding” an investigation into a lab at Fort Detrick.
The petition asking for a probe of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases had collected more than two million signatures by late Monday night, the Global Times reports.
UPI contributed to this report