‘Went to meet Xi Jinping but…’: WHO chief urges China for ‘full access’ on Covid | World News - Hindustan Times
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‘Went to meet Xi Jinping but…’: WHO chief urges China for ‘full access’ on Covid

Sep 17, 2023 04:01 PM IST

Covid Origins: No scientific consensus has emerged on the origins of the virus, the WHO boss said.

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) chief urged China to offer more information on the origins of Covid-19 and as the health body is ready to send a second team to probe the matter, it was reported. The genesis of the pandemic remains unclear nearly four years after the first cases emerged in China's Wuhan.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation(WHO), is seen. (AP)
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation(WHO), is seen. (AP)

“We’re pressing China to give full access, and we are asking countries to raise it during their bilateral meetings — [to urge Beijing] to co-operate,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as per Financial Times. “We have already asked in writing to give us information . . . and also [are] willing to send a team if they allow us to do so," he added.

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This comes as world leaders will for the first time discuss pandemic preparedness at high-level meetings during the UN meet in New York next week. The WHO chief told the Financial Times that he travelled to Beijing in order to convince Chinese president Xi Jinping in January 2020 to allow the first Covid-19 mission of WHO experts.

No scientific consensus has emerged on the origins of the virus, the WHO boss said, reiterating that all options remained “on the table”.

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“Unless we get evidence beyond reasonable doubt, we cannot just say this or that,” he said. “We will get the answer. It’s a matter of time," he asserted.

On his meeting with Xi Jinping, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “I went and met the president. The officials below him were not willing to allow us to send a team. So I had to travel to convince him why it’s so important.”

“On the origin study, since they are not giving us full access, we started discussions in private and then when they refused to co-operate, we made it public. If we know [the origin], then we can prevent the next one. So it’s science. It will not be morally correct if we don’t know what happened," he continued.

He said “the pandemic was politicised from the start” there were still no answers for “all those who have paid for this pandemic”.

“In many countries, health is not taken as central to development. And health is actually considered as a cost. And now [after the pandemic] I think people are starting to realise that it’s actually an investment that can prevent pandemics from happening," he said.

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