FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured outside a building of the World Health Organization (WHO) during an executive board meeting on update on the coronavirus outbreak, in Geneva, Switzerland, February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Chinese authorities have refused entry to a team of World Health Organization investigators hoping to  uncover the origins of COVID-19. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed disappointment Tuesday, stating, “I’m very disappointed with this news, given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute, but had been in contact with senior Chinese officials.” Tedros added that he was assured by Chinese officials that they were working to resolve the issue.

Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, stated that the incident was a misunderstanding and there is “no need to read too much into it.” Hua added “Chinese authorities are in close co-operation with WHO, but there has been some minor outbreaks in multiple places around the world and many countries and regions are busy in their work preventing the virus and we are also working on this.”

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

WHO team blocked from entering China to study origins of coronavirus – CNN – 1/6/2021
Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program said there was an issue with visas and one team member had already returned home. The other was waiting in transit in a third country. WHO officials have long been negotiating with Beijing to allow a team of global scientists access to key sites to investigate the origin of the virus — first detected in Wuhan in December 2019 — and its likely jump from an unidentified host species to humans.

WHO Criticizes China for Stymying Investigation Into Covid-19 Origins – Wall Street Journal – 1/6/2021
Answers could help prevent another virus lurking in animals from making a similar leap, epidemiologists say, and could clear up debates over how long the virus had been circulating, or which early mutations allowed it to spread and ultimately kill at least 1.9 million people as of Tuesday.

The Lab-Leak Hypothesis – Intelligencer – 1/4/2021
SARS-2 was not designed as a biological weapon. But it was, I think, designed. Many thoughtful people dismiss this notion, and they may be right. They sincerely believe that the coronavirus arose naturally, “zoonotically,” from animals, without having been previously studied, or hybridized, or sluiced through cell cultures, or otherwise worked on by trained professionals.

China blocks entry to WHO team studying Covid’s origins – The Guardian – 1/5/2021
The expedition to China was heading to Wuhan to investigate the earliest cases. It was not intending to probe claims that the virus originated in a Chinese lab, which have been dismissed by most scientists. The mission has been criticised by the US, where the outgoing president, Donald Trump, has categorically blamed the Chinese for the pandemic.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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