WHO Says It Received No Data from US Proving Artificial Origin of COVID-19
17:19 GMT 04.05.2020(updated 18:12 GMT 04.05.2020)
The international health watchdog has also called for a 'scientific-based' rather than a political inquiry into the origin of the coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation has not received any data from the US proving that the COVID-19 virus was not of natural origin, Michael Ryan, the organisation's executive director of Health Emergencies Programme, said.
"We haven't yet received any data or specific evidence from the US government relating to the purported origin of virus. From our perspective, this remains speculative, and like any evidence-based organization, we will be very willing to receive any information that purports to the origin of the virus ... So if that data and evidence is available, then it will be for the US government to decide whether and when it can be shared, but it is for WHO to operate in an information backup in that specific regard," Ryan said.
"So we focus on what we know, we focus on the evidence we have, and the evidence we have from the sequencing and from all that we have been advised is that the virus itself is of natural origin, and we need to understand more about that natural origin and particularly about intermediary host," the official argued.
He added that there should be a "scientific-based" rather than a political investigation into the origin of the virus.
US-China Row Over Virus
This comes following an article published in the Chinese state-owned Global Times newspaper on Sunday which accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of "bluffing" over his claims about the artificial origin of the new coronavirus.
Last week, Pompeo claimed that the US had "significant evidence" that COVID-19 had been released on purpose from a laboratory in China's Wuhan.
Beijing rejected the allegations, blaming Washington for an attempt to divert attention from its own failures in fighting the coronavirus outbreak effectively.
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