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China refuses WHO requests to participate in coronavirus investigations: report

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is complaining publicly that China should allow it to participate in investigations of the origins of the coronavirus.

“We know that some national investigation is happening but at this stage we have not been invited to join,” Gauden Galea, the WHO’s representative to China, told Sky News in an interview published Friday. 

“WHO is making requests of the health commission and of the authorities,” he added. “The origins of virus are very important, the animal-human interface is extremely important and needs to be studied.”

The origins of the coronavirus are increasingly becoming a political issue in the United States as President Trump blames China for not doing more to control the initial outbreak. 

China, for its part, has blamed the United States for the disease, with some officials pushing conspiracy theories that it was hatched by the U.S. military.

In the U.S., there have been conspiracy theories about the disease having been a bioweapon in China.

The U.S. intelligence community (IC) in a joint statement involving a number of agencies on Thursday said it agreed with the widespread scientific consensus that the COVID-19 disease was not manmade. 

But it said it was investigating the origins, including whether it came from animals or whether it might have come from a lab in Wuhan. 

“As we do in all crises, the Community’s experts respond by surging resources and producing critical intelligence on issues vital to U.S. national security. The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan,” the statement concluded.

The focus on the lab has sparked some concern, with published reports indicating President Trump has pressured the intelligence agencies to look into the link between the lab and the coronavirus. 

Trump also has been critical of the WHO, calling it a “public relations agency for China” on Thursday. He has halted funding for the international health agency. 

“I think the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves, because they’re like the public relations agency for China,” Trump said at a briefing Thursday.

Tags China Coronavirus Donald Trump WHO

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