The World Health Organization ((WHO)) Thursday called on China to cooperate more fully with investigations into the origins of COVID-19, saying a full accounting is owed to the millions of people who suffered and died.
During a briefing at the agency’s Geneva headquarters, along with German Health Minister Jens Spahn, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said China needs to be more open and transparent and supply more raw data regarding the first days in which the virus was discovered.
Tedros said raw data could help explain how the virus developed and spread, and prevent it from happening again. He also said the world owes it to pandemic victims.
“I think we owe it to the millions who suffered and to the millions who died really to understand what happened,” he said.
The WHO chief said the agency and its member states have continued engaging with China to get the answers, and he believes there will be better cooperation in the future.
The WHO sent an international delegation to China earlier this year on a four-week mission to determine the origin of the coronavirus. Their report concluded the pathogen originated in an animal and was transferred to humans. But many, including U.S. President Joe Biden, felt the probe was “insufficient and inconclusive.” Tedros called for further study on the matter.
Also at Thursday’s briefing, Tedros reported the WHO Emergency Committee has raised concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic is being mischaracterized as ending, while it is nowhere near finished.
Tedros said the committee, which held its eighth 2021 meeting on Thursday, also warned about the strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous COVID-19 variants that may be even more challenging to control.
He said the committee called on all countries to support WHO’s goal to vaccinate at least 10% of the population of every country by the end of September.