US urges transparent inquiry into Covid-19 origins

US urges transparent inquiry into Covid-19 origins
The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was linked to early Covid cases. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: The US health secretary Xavier Becerra has urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure the next phase of investigation into Covid-19 origins is “transparent”.

Xavier Becerra said international experts should be allowed to evaluate the source of Covid-19.

US media reports suggest growing evidence the pandemic could have emerged from a laboratory in China.

Covid-19 was first detected in 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in central Hubei province.

Since then, more than 167 million cases and 3.4 million deaths have been reported all across the world.

The WHO issued a report in March this year, written jointly with Chinese scientists on the Covid-19 origins, saying the chances of it having started in a lab were “extremely unlikely”.

The WHO acknowledged further study was needed to know the origin of the virus.

But questions have persisted and reports attributed to US intelligence sources say three members of the Wuhan Institute of Virology were admitted to hospital in November 2019, several weeks before Beijing acknowledged the first case of the new disease in the community.

China has angrily rejected the reports, repeatedly suggesting the coronavirus may have come from a US laboratory instead.

Speaking to the WHO on Tuesday, Xavier Becerra did not mention China by name. But he made it clear the US expected more rigour from the next stage of any investigation.

Mr Becerra said in an address to the World Health Assembly: “The Covid-19 pandemic not only stole a year from our lives, it stole millions of lives.”

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