By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan 7: China has denied entry to a team of World Health Organization (WHO) experts who were investigating the origins of Covid-19 in Wuhan. The growing suspicion of a cover-up has surfaced again as China remains determined to isolate experts and countries to control the narrative. Coronavirus which is believed to have originated at the end of 2019 has claimed over 1.8 million lives deaths in the world and adverse economic impact aided by subsequent lockdowns.
The head of WHO said that he was “disappointed” that China has still not finalized permissions for the arrival of experts. After a year since the pandemic, the WHO team was expected for a highly politicized visit to investigate the origins of COVID-19 after accusations of cover-ups and conspiracies. China has silenced whistle-blowers and citizen journalists including a 37-year-old woman imprisoned last week for four years over reports during its prolonged lockdown.
The international organization said that China already granted permission to the 10-person team for this week but most faced roadblocks, with Beijing yet to grant them entry. WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus critiqued Beijing’s delay, “Today, we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalised the necessary permissions for the team’s arrival in China.” Tedros on Tuesday also said that he has been in contact with Chinese officials and had “once again made it clear that the mission is a priority for the WHO.”
Chinese authorities have refused to confirm the exact dates and details of the visit and it is unclear whom the experts will meet when they arrive in Wuhan to retrace the initial days and weeks of the pandemic. The upcoming visit will the second visit. The previous visit looked at the response by authorities rather than virus origins which laid the groundwork for the 2021 probe.