Australia has joined 13 other countries in expressing their shared concerns about the veracity of a World Health Organization (WHO) study into the origins of the CCP virus.
The WHO study, written jointly by a team of Chinese and international scientists, declared that the possibility of virus transmission from bats to humans via an intermediary animal was the “most likely” source of the COVID-19 disease. It also dismissed the theory that the virus leaked from a lab as “extremely unlikely.”
In a joint statement, signed on March 30, the governments of Australia, Canada, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, South Korea, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States noted that they were concerned that the international expert study into the origins of the “SARS-CoV-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples.”
“Scientific missions like these should be able to do their work under conditions that produce independent and objective recommendations and findings,” they said.
“We share these concerns not only for the benefit of learning all we can about the origins of this pandemic, but also to lay a pathway to a timely, transparent, evidence-based process for the next phase of this study as well as for the next health crises,” they said.
The thirteen nations were not the only international group to make a comment on the study.
The European Union also echoed Australia and the other nations announcement with its own, saying that while the study was “a helpful first step”, it was hampered by the late start of the investigation, the WHO team’s delayed entry of China, and the limited access to data and early samples.
“Going forward, there must now be a renewed commitment by WHO and all Member States to access, transparency, and timeliness,” the statement demanded, underscoring the need for “a robust, comprehensive, and expert-led mechanism for expeditiously investigating outbreaks of unknown origin” conducted with “full and open collaboration.”
However, The WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus admitted in a thread written on Twitter that “all hypotheses remain on the table.”
“This report is a very important beginning, but it is not the end. We have not yet found the source of the #COVID19 virus, and we must continue to follow the science and leave no stone unturned as we do,” Tedros said.
As far as @WHO is concerned all hypotheses remain on the table. This report is a very important beginning, but it is not the end. We have not yet found the source of the #COVID19 virus, and we must continue to follow the science and leave no stone unturned as we do.
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) March 30, 2021
“In my discussions with the team, they expressed the difficulties they encountered in accessing raw data,” Tedros said in another post to Twitter. “I expect future collaborative studies to include more timely and comprehensive data sharing.”
The 10-member WHO team of international experts met with many obstructions upon their arrival in China.
Two members were also denied entry due to visa issues. Dominic Dwyer, a microbiologist at the University of Sydney and the only Australian member in the team, also revealed that the team’s request to view the raw patient data on nearly 200 cases was only met with a summary by their Chinese counterparts.