Washington, Feb 13 (PTI) The US on Saturday demanded that China must make available its COVID-19 data from the earliest days of the outbreak to the world to better understand the pandemic and prepare for the next one.
China reported the first COVID-19 case in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019 and since then the disease has snowballed into a pandemic, affecting 108,822,502 people with 2,396,283 deaths worldwide.
According to Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, the US, which is the worst affected country in the world, has reported over 27,189,188 cases and 468,103 deaths from the deadly virus.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, in a strongly-worded statement, expressed deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the COVID-19 investigation by the World Health Organization (WHO) were communicated.
“We have deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the COVID-19 investigation were communicated and questions about the process used to reach them. It is imperative that this report be independent, with expert findings free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government,” he said.
“To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, China must make available its data from the earliest days of the outbreak. Going forward, all countries, including China, should participate in a transparent and robust process for preventing and responding to health emergencies -- so that the world learns as much as possible, as soon as possible,” Sullivan demanded.
The mission of the WHO has never been more important, and the US has deep respect for its experts and the work they are doing every day to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and advance global health and health security.
“That is why President (Joe) Biden rejected and reversed the Trump administration’s decision to disengage from the WHO. But re-engaging the WHO also means holding it to the highest standards. And at this critical moment, protecting the WHO’s credibility is a paramount priority,” Sullivan added.
The WHO experts arrived in China last month for the long-awaited probe into the origins of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, the team dismissed that the virus could have leaked from a Chinese lab, a theory strongly supported by former US president Donald Trump.
The team members said that the deadly virus was most likely to have transmitted from an animal to humans.
Trump had repeatedly blamed China for covering up and not sharing information about the virus with the world, leading to a strain in relation between the two countries.
However, China has refuted the allegations. While denying that coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China points to reports from Italy, Spain and the US about its prevalence to predating its emergence in Wuhan. PTI LKJ CPS AKJ CPS