- “They are gone, they are in the air now, they are the advance party to work out the scope,” said WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris.
- “One of the big issues that everybody is interested in . . . is to look at whether or not it jumped from species to a human and what species it jumped from.”
- The Organization’s investigation is separate from that of an independent panel, announced on 9 July, which will assess global pandemic management.
World Health Organization (WHO) officials have left for China to organize an investigation into the origins of COVID-19. Two WHO experts, animal health and epidemiology specialists, will work with Chinese scientists to determine the extent and progress of the investigations.
“They are gone, they are in the air now, they are the advance party to work out the scope,” said WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris, during a United Nations briefing in Geneva, on July 10th. Thereafter, there will be negotiations regarding the composition of the larger team and the skills needed to carry out research in the best possible way.
“One of the big issues that everybody is interested in, and of course that’s why we’re sending an animal health expert, is to look at whether or not it jumped from species to a human and what species it jumped from,” Harris said.
“We know it’s very, very similar to the virus in the bat, but did it go through an intermediate species? This is a question we all need answered,” she added. The Organization’s investigation is separate from that of an independent panel, announced on 9 July, which will assess global pandemic management.
On May 29, President Donald Trump announced that the United States will terminate its ties to the World Health Organization for its alleged mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the US president has repeatedly fired salvos at the WHO, accusing it of being excessively influenced by China.
According to Trump, the WHO supported the Chinese misinformation about the coronavirus, which he also calls “the Chinese virus.” In addition to this, several tiered American officials have repeatedly insinuated that the virus could have been created in a Chinese laboratory.
For its part, China has rejected all accusations from President Trump and the US in general, stating that it hasn’t hidden any information in as far as the virus is concerned. Some Chinese officials countered the U.S. allegations, claiming that the coronavirus may have been brought to China by the same U.S. Army which visited Wuhan in October 2019.
On May 18, during the 73rd session of the WHO World Health Assembly, in the presence of leaders of 130 countries, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, announced that his country will provide the agency with $2 billion in two years. This will go toward supporting the global response to the pandemic and socio-economic development in affected countries, especially in developing countries.
The figure would correspond to the organization’s total annual budget for 2019, and would represent a drastic increase in Chinese participation, which had so far been around $40 million annually. Finally, on July 7, WHO announced that the United States will officially withdraw from the UN agency on July 6, 2021. Washington’s economic contribution amounted to approximately $450 million a year.