U.S. denounces terms for WHO-led inquiry into COVID origins

By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States, which has accused China of having hidden the extent of its coronavirus outbreak, called on Tuesday for a 'transparent and inclusive' WHO-led international investigation into the origin of the pandemic, criticising its current terms. The Trump administration has accused the World Health Organization of being 'China-centric' and of being its puppet, which WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has denied. Tedros revealed the team's composition on Tuesday, telling the WHO annual ministerial meeting: 'These are very respected individuals in their areas.' Team members came from Russia, Australia, Sudan, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Vietnam, the United Kingdom and the United States, he said

Reuters November 11, 2020 01:10:09 IST
U.S. denounces terms for WHO-led inquiry into COVID origins

US denounces terms for WHOled inquiry into COVID origins

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States, which has accused China of having hidden the extent of its coronavirus outbreak, called on Tuesday for a "transparent and inclusive" WHO-led international investigation into the origin of the pandemic, criticising its current terms.

The Trump administration has accused the World Health Organization of being "China-centric" and of being its puppet, which WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has denied.

Tedros revealed the team's composition on Tuesday, telling the WHO annual ministerial meeting: "These are very respected individuals in their areas."

Team members came from Russia, Australia, Sudan, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Vietnam, the United Kingdom and the United States, he said.

The virus, known as SARS-CoV-2, is believed to have emerged in the Chinese central city of Wuhan late last year, possibly from bats at a market with live animals.

Chinese scientists are carrying out research into its origins and how it jumped the species barrier. The WHO-led international team formed in September is to develop plans for longer-term studies building on China's findings, according to its published terms of reference.

Garrett Grigsby, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told the WHO's assembly that member states had been informed of the investigation's terms of reference only a few days ago.

The terms were "not negotiated in a transparent way with all WHO member states" and "the investigation itself appears to be inconsistent" with its mandate, he said, without elaborating.

"Understanding the origins of COVID-19 through a transparent and inclusive investigation is what must be done to meet the mandate," Grigsby said.

Britain called for prioritising the probe, adding: "We expect the investigation and its outcomes to be grounded in robust science."

Sun Yang, of China's National Health Commission, did not mention the investigation in his speech on Tuesday, but said that China supports "WHO's continued leadership role".

German Health Minister Jens Spahn, speaking for the European Union on Monday, called for "full transparency and cooperation" during all phases of the investigation.

WHO's top emergency expert Mike Ryan said on Oct. 30 that the WHO-led team and its Chinese counterparts had held a first virtual meeting regarding joint investigations and would deploy on the ground in time.

Trump announced a temporary halt to U.S. funding to the WHO in April, prompting condemnation from many world leaders. The United Nations said in July it had received formal notification of the U.S. decision to leave the body next July.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Catherine Evans and Nick Macfie)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.