A fact-finding staff of World Well being Group scientists on Wednesday visited the Chinese language lab that US officers have steered might be the supply of the coronavirus pandemic.
The WHO’S staff spent about 3-1/2 hours on the heavily-guarded Wuhan Institute of Virology within the metropolis where the worldwide pandemic was first detected in late 2019.
Whereas secretive about their work there, the staff confirmed that they met Shi Zhengli, the lab’s deputy director dubbed “Bat Girl” for her work with bat viruses, and one of many first to isolate the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
“Extraordinarily vital assembly at present with employees at WIV together with Dr. Shi Zhengli. Frank, open dialogue. Key questions requested & answered,” WHO staff member Peter Daszak mentioned on Twitter.
“Very fascinating. Many questions,” Thea Fischer, a Danish member of the staff, known as from her automobile because it sped away from the lab.
The Wuhan lab’s long-standing work with bat viruses rapidly thrust it within the highlight when COVID-19 first emerged in its neighborhood late 2019, resulting in the town of 11 million below a strict 76-day lockdown.
President Trump and his administration repeatedly highlighted the establishment over issues the virus emerged from a “lab leak.”
Simply final month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned new intelligence had solely heightened suspicions, with the Division of State producing a “reality sheet” detailing claims — one which now seems to be offline.
The lab in addition to the Chinese language authorities have repeatedly denied the claims, with one official lately dismissing Pompeo as “Mr. Lies.”
The WHO staff on Wednesday additionally spoke with consultants from Huazhong Agricultural College, Chinese language International Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin mentioned.
“It needs to be famous that virus traceability is a posh scientific difficulty, and we have to present enough house for consultants to conduct scientific analysis,” Wang mentioned.
“China will proceed to cooperate with WHO in an open, clear and accountable method, and make its contribution to raised forestall future dangers and defend the lives and well being of individuals in all international locations.”
With Publish wires