Chinese scientists have refused to share raw data on the first cases of covid-19 with the World Health Organization (WHO) team of experts.
According to the American newspaper Wall Street, researchers at the World Health Organization (WHO), who recently returned from a trip to the Chinese city of Wuhan, said the disagreements over patient records and other issues were so tense that they sometimes burst into screams among scientists .
According to scientists, China’s continued resistance to revealing information about the early days of the covid-19 outbreak makes it even more difficult the mission to discover important clues that could help prevent future outbreaks of such dangerous diseases.
For 27 days in January and February, the team of 14 WHO experts led the mission to trace the origins of the pandemic. Several say that Chinese colleagues were frustrated with persistent issues and demands team by data.
Chinese officials urged the team to embrace the Government’s narrative about the origin of the virus, according to several team members. The scientists replied that they would refrain from making judgments without data.
“It was my opinion about the whole mission that was highly geopolitical”Said Thea Kølsen Fischer, a Danish epidemiologist. “Everyone knows how much pressure there is on China to be open to an investigation and also how much guilt can be associated with that.”
At the end of the mission, experts sought a deal, praising the Chinese government’s transparency, but pushing for more data on the early days of the Wuhan outbreak. However, it is not yet clear whether the agreement will work. Chinese authorities said that didn’t have enough time to compile detailed patient data and only provided summaries.
The WHO director, Thedros Ghebreyesus, said this Friday that after the mission of experts in China, all options are open to explain the origin of the new coronavirus.
“I want to confirm that all the hypotheses remain open and require more analysis and study,” said Bhebreyesus, denying the message that had been sent by the experts, where they had ruled out the hypothesis that the virus originated in a laboratory.
This hypothesis had been repeated several times by former President of the United States, Donald Trump, who attributed responsibilities to the Beijing Government for the failure to stop the covid-19 pandemic in its initial phase.
Ghebreyesus said that the recent mission of experts in China “did not find all the answers, but provided important information” that “approach knowledge of the origin of the virus”.
The WHO director explained that the mission will release a preliminary report of your visit next week, which will be expanded in the coming weeks and explained in a new press conference given by the team of experts.
Also present at the press conference was Peter Embarek, who led the team of scientists and said that the mission “has achieved many successes”. “We now have a better understanding of what happened in 2019“, Said Embarek, stressing that this initiative was only“ the beginning ”of the investigation process.
“It is not the time for any country to slow down the measures”
The director-general of WHO also said “it is not time for any country to slow down measures” to control the covid-19 pandemic, despite the global reduction in infections and deaths.
Ghebreyesus highlighted the decrease in the number of infections for the fourth consecutive week and deaths for the second consecutive week, noting that countries are applying “More restrictive measures”.
However, despite the statistics he found encouraging, he said that “it is not time for any country to slow down the measures”. “Complacency is as dangerous as the virus”.
The WHO leader renewed the call for technology sharing to accelerate the production of vaccines against covid-19 and distribute them equitably. “Never in history have vaccines been developed in less than a year after the appearance of a virus,” said Ghebreyesus.
Maria Campos, ZAP // Lusa