Chinese health officials have called out the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for his “offensive” comments in the ongoing search for the origins of COVID-19.
Speaking at a news conference, the director of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shen Hongbing said that Ghebreyesus’ recent remarks were “offensive and disrespectful,” accusing the health agency of “attempting to smear China” and said it should avoid helping others “politicize COVID-19.”
In remarks made last month, Ghebreyesus said that the newly disclosed genetic material gathered in Wuhan, China should’ve been publicly shared three years ago.
The genetic material mentioned by Ghebreyesus was uploaded recently to a global database, being collected three years ago at a Wuhan-based wildlife market where wildlife was sold.
“As a responsible country and as scientists, we have always actively shared research results with scientists from around the world,” Shen said at a news conference.
Shen also said that officials haven’t yet found the source of COVID-19 yet, adding an example that it took researchers years to identify and find the origins of the AIDS virus.
“Some forces and figures who instigate and participate in politicizing the traceability issue and attempting to smear China should not assume that the vision of the scientific community around the world will be blinded by their clumsy manipulation,” Shen said.
The U.S. has pressed China to provide more information on COVID-19 origins and allow international investigations to take place as part of efforts to determine where the virus originated.
Multiple media outlets recently reported that the Energy Department had determined with “low confidence” that a lab leak was behind the eventual outbreak and pandemic, citing new intelligence in its report.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report