A top Chinese health official on Thursday rejected an offer by the World Health Organization (WHO) to conduct further research into the background of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus (COVID-19), which aims to explore the lab-leak theory that has gained more traction since May.
“It is impossible for us to accept such an origin-tracing plan,” said deputy head of the National Health Commission Zeng Yixin on Thursday, July 22 in a press conference in Beijing, according to Axios.
Previously deemed a conspiracy theory, the lab-leak idea suggested that the CCP Virus that causes the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, was initially incubated in a Wuhan lab and somehow found its way out unexpectedly to wreak world havoc.
One thing appears certain about the virus: it first emerged in Wuhan, a province of China. When the world started to notice the virus, the CCP insisted it came from an animal trade market in the province, claiming that it naturally learned to jump from bats to humans.
The senior official said he did not expect such a theory to become a research objective under the second phase of the WHO investigation.
“In some aspects, the WHO’s plan for next phase of investigation of the coronavirus origin doesn’t respect common sense, and it’s against science. It’s impossible for us to accept such a plan,” he said.
Yixin added that “no worker or researcher at the WIV got infected by coronavirus.”
In May, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the U.S. State Department had a document that said three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) fell ill with symptoms “consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illness” in the fall of 2019. However, this was before the first-ever cases of the COVID-19 were officially announced.
A WHO report in late March dismissed the lab-leak theory, but many officials such as Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed great doubts in the conclusion. In May, consultant advisor of the organization Jamie Metzl said the study was not “credible or valid.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on July 15 discredited the March report also, saying it did not include the raw data of the pandemic’s early days.
“We ask China to be transparent and open and to cooperate. We owe it to the millions who suffered and the millions who died to know what happened,” he said in a news conference, adding that the lab-leak theory deserves an investigation.
China has strongly dismissed the skeptics, saying the United States and other countries were exploiting the hypothesis of the CCP Virus against them for political intentions.
In fact, in late May after President Joe Biden hinted he backs the lab-leak possibility, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian pushed back and demanded a probe into a U.S. military base for the origin of COVID.
“How many secrets are hidden in the U.S.’s Fort Detrick lab and other biolabs overseas from the rest of the world?” Zhao asked. “What is the truth of the outbreaks of respiratory disease in northern Virginia in July 2019 and the e-cigarette, or vaping, associated lung injury (EVALI) outbreak in Wisconsin? The United States owes the world an explanation.”
On July 16, Zhao declared that the CCP had wholly coordinated with the March probe and rejected the allegations that they blocked the research team’s access to crucial data and areas.