CREDIT: REUTERS/THOMAS PETER
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The UK, United States and 12 other countries are concerned the World Health Organization report into the origins of the pandemic was delayed and lacked access to complete data, according to a joint statement.
The comments came after the head of the WHO warned that members of the investigation had reported “difficulties” in accessing raw data from during the trip to Wuhan, while the probe into whether a laboratory-related incident played a role in the origins of the pandemic was “not extensive enough”.
In remarks given to member states during a briefing on the highly-anticipated report, Dr Tedros insisted that “as far as WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table”.
He added that the report is “a very important beginning, but it is not the end” of investigations.
“We have not yet found the source of the virus, and we must continue to follow the science and leave no stone unturned as we do. Finding the origin of a virus takes time and we owe it to the world to find the source so we can collectively take steps to reduce the risk of this happening again.”
But already, international leaders have expressed doubts about the report.
“It is equally essential that we voice our shared concerns that the international expert study on the source of the Sars-Cov-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples,” a statement from the US, UK and 12 other countries said.
Meanwhile, the EU has said that while a “helpful first step”, they regret the delays the report has experienced.
Today really has been a tale of two halves: this morning, the headlines were dominated by news that the world’s leaders had come together to call for a new “pandemic treaty”. This afternoon, reaction to the World Health Organization report into the origins of Covid-19 has caught attention – not necessarily for the right reasons.
Here’s an overview of the key stories to be aware of today:
- The world needs a global settlement like that forged after the Second World War to protect countries in the wake of Covid, Boris Johnson and other world leaders have said.
- But divisions over the EU’s vaccination crisis have been laid bare after Ursula von der Leyen refused to sign up to a call by more than 20 world leaders for the new global pandemics treaty.
- The US, UK, EU and WHO are all among those to criticised China for withholding information on the origins of the pandemic. Dr Tedros, head of the UN health agency, added that the probe into whether a laboratory-related incident played a role in the origins of the pandemic was “not extensive enough”.
- Roughly half of adults in the UK have coronavirus antibodies while weekly registered deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales have fallen to the lowest level since October, ONS data shows.
- The UK surpassed the grim milestone of 150,000 coronavirus-related deaths in mid-March, according to an analysis of death certificates.
- Planned easing of coronavirus restrictions in Scotland is to go ahead despite cases “plateauing” rather than continuing to decline, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
- In vaccine news, German leaders will discuss the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, after several states said they would stop giving the shot to people under the age of 60 following further reports of a rare brain blood disorder.
- Canadian health officials also said they would stop offering AstraZeneca’s vaccine to people under age 55, and require a new analysis of the shot’s risks and benefits based on age and gender.
- And finally, United States President Joe Biden has urged states to pause reopening effortsand a top health official warned of “impending doom”, amid a surge in Covid-19 cases that threaten efforts to quash the coronavirus pandemic.
— the telegraph