World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday all hypotheses regarding the origins of COVID-19 remain open, following his discussions with investigative team members about the findings during their visit to China.
The WHO-led international team this week completed a visit to China where they investigated the origins of COVID-19, including a visit to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where some have speculated the virus could have originated.
At a news conference before departing China, WHO scientist Peter Ben Embarek told reporters their initial findings led them to believe it was highly unlikely the virus originated in a lab.
But at the agency’s regular briefing in Geneva, Tedros indicated nothing is off the table.
“Having spoken with some members of the team, I wish to confirm that all hypotheses remain open and require further analysis and studies," he said.
Tedros also cautioned, as he had in prior briefings, that the mission would not find all the answers, but he said it has added important information that takes us closer to understanding the origins of the virus. Tedros said the mission achieved a better understanding of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and identified areas for further analysis and research.
He said he expects a summary of the report to be finished in the next week and when it is published, he will discuss the findings.
Meanwhile, Tedros said the number of reported COVID-19 globally fell for the fourth consecutive week, and that the number of deaths also fell for the second consecutive week.
He credited the declines to stringent public health measures being implemented. Tedros urged nations not to let their guard down and relax those measures just yet.