WHO report on COVID-19 origins to be published next week

The head of a World Health Organization team working with Chinese colleagues to finish a long-awaited report into the coronavirus’s origins has acknowledged its authors could face “pressures” and announced that the report – some 280 pages – would be ready for release next week.

“The final product would require unanimous approval from all of the team’s science experts,” news agency AP quoted Peter Ben Embarek, who led a 10-person international team of experts.

The team of experts China in January and February and acknowledged that political pressures have loomed large over the virus pandemic.

“It’s possible that there will be pressures from right to left … What we can guarantee is that everyone will be on board” and “unanimous” in their backing of the report once that the text is completed, Embarek said.

The team did not find cases of COVID-19 before December 8, 2019, he said.

It took many months for the UN team to arrange a visit to China with Chinese authorities.

Meanwhile, China’s Global Times newspaper yesterday published an interview with Liang Wannian, the head of the Chinese side of the team, who pointed to political pressures that amounted to “huge disrespect to the work of our scientists.”

Liang was quoted as saying some politicians and international media had “insisted on politicising the scientific issue of tracing the source of Covid-19, regardless of scientific facts, for their own personal gain, arbitrarily misinterpreting the scientific findings and reports of our joint team.”