Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020 | Last Update : 04:36 AM IST

188th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra1339232103001535571 Andhra Pradesh6756746050905708 Tamil Nadu5808085251549313 Karnataka5755664622418582 Uttar Pradesh3870853258885594 Delhi2711142366515235 West Bengal2474252169214781 Odisha209374173571850 Telangana1872111564311107 Bihar178882164537888 Kerala175385117917678 Assam169985139977655 Gujarat1332191132403417 Rajasthan1288591077181441 Haryana1237821059901307 Madhya Pradesh117588932382207 Punjab107096840253134 Chhatisgarh9856566860777 Jharkhand7770964515661 Jammu and Kashmir69832495571105 Uttarakhand4533233642555 Goa3107125071386 Puducherry2548919781494 Tripura2412717464262 Himachal Pradesh136799526152 Chandigarh112128677145 Manipur9791760263 Arunachal Pradesh8649623014 Nagaland5768469311 Meghalaya5158334343 Sikkim2707199431 Mizoram178612880
  World   Americas  05 May 2020  WHO: Pompeo's statement about coronavirus emerging from Wuhan lab 'speculative'

WHO: Pompeo's statement about coronavirus emerging from Wuhan lab 'speculative'

REUTERS
Published : May 5, 2020, 12:11 pm IST
Updated : May 5, 2020, 12:11 pm IST

Pompeo Sunday said there was “a significant amount of evidence” that the virus emerged from a Wuhan lab.

Logo of the World Health Organisation.
 Logo of the World Health Organisation.

GENEVA: The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday that comments by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo citing “evidence” that the new coronavirus had emerged from a Chinese laboratory were “speculative”, and called for a science-based inquiry.

Pompeo said on Sunday there was “a significant amount of evidence” that the virus emerged from a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan, but did not dispute U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that it was not man-made.

 

Dr Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergencies expert, told an online press conference from Geneva:

“We have not received any data-specific evidence from the U.S. government relating to the purported origin of the virus. So from our perspective, this remains speculative.”

As an “evidence-based organisation”, Ryan said, the WHO was keen to receive any information on the origin of the virus, as this was “exceptionally important” for its future control.

“So if that data and evidence is available, then it will be for the United States government to decide whether and when it can be shared,” he said.

Scientists have advised the WHO that genome sequencing shows the virus to be of “natural origin”.

 

Ryan said science, not politics, should be at the heart of exchanges with Chinese scientists on the issue, warning against projecting an “aggressive investigation of wrongdoing”.

The virus is believed to have originated in bats and jumped to humans via another species. Dr Maria van Kerkhove, a WHO specialist in viruses that make such jumps, said it was important to determine this intermediate host.

As countries begin easing lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the virus, many hope to contain new clusters of infection through systematic contact tracing, helped by mobile phone apps and other technology.

But Ryan said these did not make more traditional “boots-on-the-ground” surveillance redundant.

 

“We are very, very keen to stress that IT tools do not replace the basic public health workforce that is going to be needed to trace, test, isolate and quarantine,” he said, praising South Korea and Singapore for their strategy.

Ryan said the WHO welcomed recent clinical trial data for Gilead Sciences Inc’s (GILD.O) antiviral drug remdesivir, saying there were “signals of hope” for a potential use against COVID-19.

“We will be engaging in discussions with Gilead and the U.S. government as to how this drug may be made more widely available as further data emerges on its effectiveness,” he said.

Steven Solomon, the WHO’s principal legal officer, said two countries had proposed consideration of letting Taiwan attend the WHO’s May 18-19 annual health assembly as an observer.

 

Solomon said the WHO recognised the People’s Republic of China as the “one legitimate representative of China”, in keeping with U.N. policy since 1971, and that the question of Taiwan’s attendance was one for the WHO’s 194 member states.

China, which views the island as a wayward Chinese province and not a country, says it represents Taiwan adequately in the WHO.

Tags: mike pompeo, the united states, china, world health organisation, coronavirus