China owes it to the 3.75m people who have died from Covid-19 to co-operate with investigations into the origins of the virus, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Ghebreyesus told journalists today that G7 leaders had discussed the origins of Covid-19 today at a joint summit on health which he attended, adding that “we need cooperation from Chinese side, we need transparency to understand and find the origin of this virus”.
The WHO’s initial investigation into the origins of Covid-19 proved to be inconclusive, with further work soon to begin.
The organisation has complained that the Chinese government was not forthcoming in providing data and information that could uncover where the virus came from.
US President Joe Biden ordered a more thorough probe by American intelligence last month into whether the virus accidentally escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology – a belief that was held by the Donald Trump White House.
Biden said that US intelligence opinion on the lab leak theory is split.
“More than 174m people have been confirmed for Covid illness…3.75m people have died – this is very tragic,” Ghebreyesus said.
“I think the respect people deserve is knowing what the origin of this virus is, so we can prevent it from happening again.
“We need cooperation from the Chinese side, we need transparency to understand and find the origin of this virus.
“As I indicated after the [initial] report [into Covid-19 origins] was released, there were difficulties in data sharing – especially raw data.”
The WHO boss added that he spoke about the origins of Covid-19 with G7 leaders today.
“What we discussed was around the future and the challenges in sharing info, sharing data, sharing pathogens or biological materials,” he said.
G7 leaders are set to pledge to donate 1bn vaccines to poorer countries in a bid to vaccinate the world against Covid-19 by the end of 2022.
Ghebreyesus said the world’s richest democracies should aim to have helped vaccinate 70 per cent of the world by next June – a target he said was “achievable”.