WHO's Covid-19 origin probe 'highly deficient', says Blinken

Antony Blinken, US secretary of state

The World Health Organization's first phase of study on the origins of COVID-19 pandemic is "highly deficient", said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday (local time) and added that leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) countries will insist China to cooperate with a second phase of WHO study.

"The World Health Organization, you're right, the first study they put out was highly deficient," Blinken told Fox News on Sunday, as quoted by the US State Department press release.

"The leaders of the G-7 have come together insisting that China to cooperate with the so-called phase two study by the WHO to really get to the bottom of what happened. But that's not enough."

Backing the calls for further probe into the origin of the virus, Blinken said that "We need to get to the bottom of what happened."

"We need accountability, but we also need to understand what happened, why it happened, how it happened, if we're going to be able to put in place the necessary measures to prevent it from happening again, or at least be in a better place to mitigate the next pandemic if we can't fully prevent one," he added.

On Sunday, the G7 leaders called for a "timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened" investigation into the origins of COVID-19, including, as recommended by the experts' report, in China.

"Strengthening transparency and accountability, including reiterating our commitment to the full implementation of, and improved compliance with, the International Health Regulations 2005. This includes investigating, reporting, and responding to outbreaks of unknown origin. We also call for a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts' report, in China," the G7 leaders said in the Carbis Bay communique.

Recently, the calls to investigate further the origins of the virus have intensified. President Biden has also ordered a fresh US intelligence inquiry into the origins of the pandemic.

The origin of novel coronavirus that caused havoc around the world has remained unclear even after 1.5 years the first case of infection was reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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