A senior World Health Organization official said the WHO could not force China to release more information on the origin of COVID-19, adding that it would offer studies needed to understand where the virus “reached the next level”. :
Asked by a reporter how the WTO would “force” China to be more open, Mike Ryan, director of the agency’s emergency program, told reporters that “the WTO has no power to force anyone on this issue.”
“We fully expect cooperation, investment and support from all our member states in this matter,” Ryan said on Monday.
There are competing theories that the virus jumped from animals, possibly from bats, to humans, or that it came out of Wuhan Laboratory in China.
In: Wuhan Laboratory Leakage Theory has recently become the subject of a new public debate after several well-known scientists called for a full investigation into the origin of the virus.
The hypothesis that the virus accidentally leaked into the laboratory was largely ignored by scientists in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak. China has repeatedly denied that the laboratory was responsible for the outbreak.
WTO team members who visited China earlier this year in search of COVID-19 origin said they had not been able to use all the data, continuing discussions on the country’s transparency.
Former United States President Donald Trump and his supporters have stepped up their conspiracy theories that China deliberately pulled out the virus.
Mike Pompeo, the then US Secretary of State, claimed last year that there was “significant evidence” that the virus had come from the laboratory, but left no evidence to confirm that there was no certainty.
At the same time, the WHO chief called on COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to abandon the COVAX global justice scheme first, or to transfer half of their volume to a WHO-sponsored initiative.
WHO Director General Tedros Adanom Hebrais at a press briefing complained about the inequality of COVID-19 vaccines which, he said, created a “bilateral epidemic” with protected, poorer Western countries still struggling to recover from problematic donations.
He expressed disappointment that several poor countries were unable to vaccinate their health care workers, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations with severe COVID-19.
“More and more we see a bilateral epidemic. “Many countries are still facing an extremely dangerous situation, while some of those with the highest vaccine rates are starting to talk about ending restrictions,” Tedros told reporters, adding that the spread of vaccines could end the “acute phase of the COVID-19 epidemic.”
– World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) June 7, 2021
The WHO chief said that six months after the first coronavirus vaccine was injected, high-income countries imported “almost 44% of the world’s doses”.
“Low-income countries ruled with only 0.4 percent. “The most disturbing thing about this statistic is that it hasn’t changed in months.”
Tedros called for a massive global effort to vaccinate at least 10 percent of the population in all countries by September and at least 30 percent by the end of the year.
This will require an additional 250 million doses by September and 100 million doses by June-July alone.
“The G7 leaders will meet at their annual summit this weekend,” Tedros said. “These seven nations can achieve those goals.
“I urge the G7 not only to commit to dosing, but also to share between June and July,” he said.
“I also urge all manufacturers to give COVAX the first right to reject a new COVID-19 vaccine or to give 50% of their volume to COVAX this year.”
COVAX, designed to ensure the fair distribution of vaccines, particularly to low-income countries, has already delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 areas.
But that’s about 200 million doses left where it was hoped for, says the WHO.
For vaccines to be approved by COVAX, they must be approved by the WHO and given emergency list status.
So far, UNHCR has given the green light to vaccines developed by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm և Sinovac.