"In this regard, we join in expressing shared concerns regarding the recent WHO-convened study in China," the statement continued, acknowledging the importance of the international mission into the Chinese megalopolis of Wuhan, where the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus first emerged, but also emphasizing that the study was "significantly delayed" and lacked access to "complete, original data and samples."
The Chinese communist regime, although wasn't directly mentioned in the joint statement, has been criticized for deliberately holding back the truth about the virus and allowing it to turn into a global crisis. Beijing for months rejected calls for an international probe and it wasn't until this January that a WHO-led team of foreign experts was allowed to conduct a 2-week study in Wuhan and exchange information with their Chinese counterparts.
The 10-member team was met with obstructions after their arrival. Two members were denied entry into China due to visa issues, which Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying attributed to a "misunderstanding." Another team member, Australian microbiologist Dominic Dwyer, revealed that they had requested raw patient data on 174 cases identified by the Chinese health authority in December 2019 around Wuhan's wildlife market, as well as other potential earlier cases, but were only provided with a summary.
Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has agreed that the probe was "not extensive enough" and the experts had struggled to get their hands on key information during their stay in China.
"I welcome the recommendations for further research, including a full analysis of the trade in animals and products in markets across Wuhan, particularly those linked to early human cases," Tedros said Tuesday.
"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 added.