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COVID-19 origins : China rejects WHO proposal to return to Wuhan

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Officials deny claims China’s response has lacked transparency and insist laboratory leak ‘extremely unlikely’.

China has rejected a proposal from the World Health Organization (WHO) that the expert team investigating the origins of COVID-19 should return to the sites in China where the coronavirus first emerged, saying researchers should instead make a priority of the “very likely” possibility that the virus originated in animals and expand their work to other countries around the world.

Speaking at a news conference at the State Information Council Zeng Yixin, the vice minister of China’s National Health Commission, said he was “surprised” that the WHO had proposed the team return to places in Wuhan that they visited earlier this year.

Zeng said such a move was “not scientific”.

Yuan Zhiming of the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, also dismissed claims that the virus might have escaped from one of two research laboratories in the central Chinese city.

“The general consensus by the academic community is that the coronavirus was naturally generated,” he said.

More to come…

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