WHO Official: Agency Not Invited to Take Part in China’s Virus Probe

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
May 1, 2020Updated: May 5, 2020

China hasn’t let World Health Organization (WHO) experts take part in the country’s probe of the CCP virus, the WHO representative in China said.

“We know that some national investigation is happening but at this stage we have not been invited to join,” Dr. Gauden Galea told Sky News.

“WHO is making requests of the health commission and of the authorities. The origins of virus are very important, the animal-human interface is extremely important and needs to be studied.

The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus is a novel coronavirus that emerged in China last year. It causes a disease called COVID-19 that has killed tens of thousands of people around the world.

Galea told Sky that world health experts “need to know as much as possible to prevent the reoccurrence” of the new illness.

Asked whether there was a good reason to exclude WHO from the probe, Galea said: “From our point of view, no.”

WHO declined to make Galea available for an interview.

“WHO would be keen to work with international partners and at the invitation of the Chinese Government to participate in investigation around the animal origins,” it said in an emailed statement.

Wuhan Institute of Virology
An aerial view shows the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on April 17, 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)

China repeatedly blocked U.S. experts from entering the country to help analyze the virus in January and February. It has still not granted access to American experts or health officials from other Western countries to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab near where the outbreak started, according to U.S. officials.

WHO sent a team to China in February to analyze the virus and China’s response to the outbreak. The resulting report was largely positive about the response.

Two U.S. experts, Dr. Clifford Lane from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Dr. Weigong Zhou from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), were part of the team.

The Epoch Times is working on interviewing Lane about his experience. A CDC spokeswoman told The Epoch Times that an interview with Zhou wasn’t possible at this time.

The United States has paused funding to WHO over questions about its close relationship to the CCP and whether it helped coverup the extent of the outbreak earlier this year.

Australia last month said all WHO members should support an independent probe into the origins and spread of the virus.

China’s foreign ministry retaliated, positing that Chinese people could stop buying products from Australia and avoid enrolling in universities there.