WHO rejects Trump’s COVID-19 lab origin claim

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reiterated that it believes the COVID-19 virus originated in a natural environment, contrary to the aspersions raised by the US that it may have escaped from a Chinese lab.Dr Michael Ryan, the head of emergencies at the WHO, said that its scientists have closely studied the gene sequences and the virus, and assured that COVID-19 had a natural origin. “It was important to establish the natural host of the virus so that we could find ways to prevent and respond to future outbreaks,” Dr Ryan said.

Dr Ryan’s comments contradicted President Trump’s assertion that the virus may have emerged from a virology institute in China. The White House has accused the UN body of siding with China in a fatal blunder that cost the world millions of lives and economic disruption.Most scientists believe that the virus transmitted into humans from an animal that has not been identified yet at a wet market in Wuhan city. The WHO’s Emergency Committee has maintained that the COVID-19 outbreak remains a global public health emergency.

Despite WHO’s assertion, Mr Trump renewed calls on May 1 for punishing China for the alleged mishandling of the outbreak. He reiterated that an additional tariff against China is “certainly an option”.“A lot of things are happening with respect to China. We’re not happy, obviously, with what happened. This is a bad situation all over the world, 182 countries. But we’ll be having a lot to say about that,” Mr Trump said at a press conference without giving a timeline for this.

In a separate interview, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also accused China of being non-transparent on the COVID-19 crisis.“They’ve claimed that they have been transparent, but of course, at least as of a day or two ago, we still didn’t actually have a sample of the virus. We were still working to try to understand what the scope of the risk was,” he told Buck Sexton of The Buck Sexton Show.

Mr Pompeo highlighted the alleged double standards of China, claiming that while on the one hand, it didn’t know where the virus came from; on the other hand, those who tried to talk about it in China were gagged. They were told “don’t talk about that, stop it” and discussions were banned early on, he added. “That’s not the way partners work, reliable partners work. Reliable partners share. They open up, especially when there’s trouble. They go overboard to make sure everybody can understand how it came to be. That’s all we’ve asked for,” the secretary of state said.




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