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US asks China to come clean on Covid-19 data from Wuhan

US seeks more data on Covid-19 from Wuhan, China (IANS)

The US has asked China to make available data from the earliest days of the Covid-19 outbreak as it has “deep concerns” about the way the findings of the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 report on the issue were communicated.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Saturday said in a statement “it is imperative that this report be independent, with expert findings free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government.”

Sullivan pointed out that the US President Joe Biden had quickly reversed the decision to disengage from the WHO, but said it was imperative to protect the organization’s credibility.

Sullivan said, “Re-engaging the WHO also means holding it to the highest standards. We have deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the COVID-19 investigation were communicated and questions about the process used to reach them.”

“To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, China must make available its data from the earliest days of the outbreak,” he added.

Going forward, all countries, including China, should participate in a transparent and robust process for preventing and responding to health emergencies, Sullivan said.

China had refused to give raw data on early Covid-19 patients in Wuhan to the WHO-led team probing the origins of the pandemic. Chinese officials showed the team only a couple of examples, but not all of them, which is standard epidemiological investigation,” said Dominic Dwyer, an Australian microbiologist on the WHO team told the Wall Street Journal. Chinese officials and scientists provided their own extensive summaries and analysis of data on the cases, some WHO team members had disclosed.

There were “heated exchanges” between some WHO members and Chinese officials over the “lack of detail.”

The Chinese authorities turned down requests to provide such data on 174 cases of Covid-19 that they have identified from the early phase of the outbreak in Wuhan. The investigators are part of a WHO team that completed a month-long mission in China last week aimed at determining the origins of the pandemic and how it spread.

Member states typically provide such data so that WHO investigators can see all other relevant details on each case, the team members pointed out. However, China refused to do this.


WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday had said all hypotheses were still open about the origins of Covid-19, after Washington said it wanted to review data provided to the WHO-led mission to Wuhan in China, where the virus first jumped species.

The Trump administration had said it suspected the virus may have escaped from a Chinese lab, which Beijing strongly denies.


A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy hit back, saying the United States had damaged multilateral cooperation and the WHO in recent years, and should not be “pointing fingers” at China and other countries that supported the WHO during the Covid-19 pandemic.

China welcomed the U.S. decision to re-engage with the WHO, but Washington should hold itself to the “highest standards” instead of taking aim at other countries, the spokesperson said.