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It’s the US that fears a probe on virus origins

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A staff member looks at the label on a sample at a lab in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, Feb. 1, 2020. (Xinhua)

The 73rd World Health Assembly conference that started yesterday will discuss a proposal of the EU to investigate the Novel Coronavirus’ origin. Media reported that 62 countries, including EU member countries, have backed the proposal. We believe Beijing will be open to a scientific and fair investigation while it is Washington that will worry about a serious and scientific investigation.

Regardless of the origin, the virus has been a threat to all humanity. China upholds an attitude that the virus is a common enemy and that the international community should join hands against it. This is a consensus shared by the vast majority of countries.

China has never politicised the virus. Whether the virus first appeared in Wuhan or any city in the US, or anywhere else, Chinese people’s attitude will be the same and will not think countries should hold different responsibility regarding the epidemic.

However, the US acted in an opposite direction. It has been striving to politically and legally hold China accountable for the COVID-19 pandemic. This is nonsense. But Washington is trying to duck its responsibility of ineptitude and inability.

To make its nonsense seem rational, the US wants a conclusion which claims Wuhan is the origin, ideally the virus was leaked from a Wuhan lab. However, what Washington has recently found goes against its wish. New findings have potentially altered the timeline of the Coronavirus outbreak in the US, with a large number of COVID-19 cases misclassified as influenza last winter. What if the investigation finds the US is the origin of the Coronavirus? That would destroy the Trump administration’s narrative and its re-election strategy.

China is unperturbed for two reasons. First, there is a scientific uncertainty of the Coronavirus origin. The city of Wuhan, where the outbreak was first reported, is not necessarily the place where the virus originated.

Second, even if scientists do eventually conclude that the virus first appeared in China, China’s position will not be swayed but will remain open and poised.

China welcomes any scientific and impartial investigation led by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO’s discussion of the EU proposal over the virus origin needs to be serious and responsible to ensure that the investigation is truly scientific and does not serve the US’ political purpose of presuming China’s guilt. All elements in the world that may be related to the origin of Novel Coronavirus should be included in the scope of investigation, especially those in the US.

As a country with the highest number of infections and deaths and more early cases revealed, the US’ role in the origin and spread of the Coronavirus has become a major concern.

Hubei province had only a few thousand confirmed cases a day even at the peak of the epidemic, while New York State with much fewer population than Hubei had more than 10,000 new cases a day, and other parts of the world have seen far more severe numbers.

China is particularly alert to COVID-19 because of its memory of SARS in 2003. It is a crucial question if the Coronavirus had spread quietly in countries such as the US and COVID-19 was mistreated as influenza in the early days.

We hope that the World Health Assembly, which prioritises the international public health wellbeing, will not be kidnapped by the political plot of a few political forces. We also hope to see more countries come to oppose such kidnapping.

It is in the interest of the human community to remain focused on the fight against the pandemic, which is far from over. GLOBAL TIMES

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