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WHO report on origin of Covid-19 in China to be released in mid-March as controversy rages

Some critics say that the access given to the WHO team in China was very limited as it was taken on a guided tour by the Chinese government

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that the report on its investigations in Wuhan to find the origins of the Covid-19 virus outbreak in China is likely to be released in mid-March.

“The current timing is the week of 14th-15th March,” Peter Ben Embarek, the head of the mission, said at a news conference in Geneva.
There appears to be a change of course as WHO officials had earlier said that the mission might issue a summary report before its full findings were ready.
“What the team has done to their credit is really worked hard to try to come up with their full report so we can have a proper discussion around the full report,” said Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergency expert.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “I would like to assure you everything that happened during the trip will be presented transparently.”
Controversy over report

The mission had run into a controversy as the US wants to review its findings. Some critics say its access in China was very limited as it was taken on a guided tour by the Chinese government and for the most of their stay the WHO team members were confined to their hotels in Wuhan.
On Thursday, an open letter from a group of scientists said the WHO mission “did not have the mandate, the independence, or the necessary accesses to carry out a full and unrestricted investigation” into all theories about the origins of the virus.
Nikolai Petrovsky, an expert at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, one of the authors of the letter, said on Friday that despite the visit by the WHO-led team, the world was no closer to knowing the origins of Covid-19.
However, Chen Xu, China’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said at another press conference, “It is not an investigation, it is joint scientific research. The experts were chosen by the World Health Organization, they conducted their business, scientific collaborations with their Chinese counterparts.”