China, which was the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, has denied permission to the World Health Organisation (WHO) team. The WHO experts were scheduled to reach Wuhan and investigate the origin and transmission of the virus. Still, China’s decision to deny the permit at the eleventh hour has not gone down well with the global body. WHO Director-General has expressed his “disappointment” with the conduct of China.
WHO has underlined the importance of the mission and its importance to investigate by the global body. Several observers termed this Chinese move as a betrayal considering how the WHO had guarded China during rising tensions about China’s involvement in the pandemic’s spread.
The WHO chief had earlier said good words about how China responded to the outbreak and praised the Chinese leadership for their efforts and commitment. Thus, this move by China has come as a surprise to the WHO. China stood by its decision to delay the visit and as per the sources, the Chinese Government said that tracing of the origin of the virus is no simple task. China hid behind the excuse that they had to undertake certain procedures and make certain arrangements that would ensure that the work of the international expert team in China is done without hiccups.
China, in recent months, has been playing a different tune. The authorities have suggested they will have superintendence over the extent of access given to the international experts. The local scientists have gone on to say that the studies on the origin of the virus will have to go under critical examination by them before it is made public or taken up for further studies. The State media in China had increasingly backed a narrative suggesting the virus came to China from elsewhere. In contrast, some scientists in China had put forth studies indicating that the virus was circulating in other countries, such as Italy before it made its presence felt in China. China’s withdrawal of its support will hinder an investigation by WHO and damage the image of China. Countries have been training their guns on China and blaming China for all the hardship faced due to the global lockdown. Thus, China has the responsibility to come out clean by allowing an impartial, objective investigation regarding the virus’s origin and its transmissibility.