A senior Chinese health official said Thursday he was shocked by the World Health Organisation's plan for the second phase of a COVID-19 origins study. National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin dismissed the lab leak theory as a rumor running counter to common sense.
Last week, the head of the WHO acknowledged that it was premature to rule out a potential link between the pandemic and a leak of the coronavirus from a Chinese lab. Zeng called the theory a rumor that goes against science.
In a rare departure from his usual deference to powerful member countries, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said getting access to raw data had been a challenge for the international team that traveled to China earlier this year to investigate the source of COVID-19. The first human cases were identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Tedros told reporters that the U.N. health agency based in Geneva is “asking actually China to be transparent, open and cooperate, especially on the information, raw data that we asked for at the early days of the pandemic.”