Biden team calls on China to provide all data on COVID-19 outbreak
The White House is calling on China to release all the data it has pertaining to the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak amid reports the Chinese government has refused to turn over key information to World Health Organization (WHO) investigators.
In a statement on Saturday morning, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said he has “deep concerns” about reports Chinese officials refused to cooperate with a WHO investigation into how the virus began and spread.
“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,” Sullivan said. “It is imperative that this report be independent, with expert findings free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government. To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, China must make available its data from the earliest days of the outbreak.”
WHO officials spent several weeks in China over the course of January and February investigating the origins of the coronavirus.
Officials said the Chinese government was not fully cooperative or transparent, and that they’d been pressured to accept the Chinese government claim that the virus had been imported to China from abroad.
Several months after the virus struck the U.S., former President Trump pulled the U.S. out of WHO, alleging it was being used as a propaganda tool by the Chinese government and did not have U.S. interests in mind.
One of President Biden’s first acts in office was to reengage with WHO.
“President Biden rejected and reversed the Trump Administration’s decision to disengage from the WHO,” Sullivan said. “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.”
“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.”
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