White House slams China for ‘dangerous’ rejection of new COVID-19 probe
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday slammed China for rejecting a new World Health Organization probe of the origins of COVID-19.
“We’re deeply disappointed. Their position is irresponsible and frankly dangerous,” Psaki said at her daily press briefing.
Zeng Yixin, vice minister of China’s National Health Commission, said Thursday that the authoritarian Communist-led nation won’t comply with the proposed probe, which would audit markets and labs in Wuhan, China.
“We cannot accept this kind of plan for origin-tracing,” Zeng said. He said the plan “did not respect common sense and violated science.”
An initial WHO probe that was controlled by China concluded in March that the virus likely emerged naturally from animals — but the findings drew bipartisan scorn.
After facing criticism for deferring to the WHO to investigate the pandemic’s origin, President Biden abruptly pivoted in May and ordered a 90-day spy agency review of the possibility that the virus actually emerged — either accidentally or deliberately — from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The pivot followed reporting from the Wall Street Journal that three of the Wuhan lab’s workers were hospitalized in November 2019, just before the first public reports about the novel virus.
One US spy agency is leaning toward the lab leak theory, the US government said. Former CDC Director Robert Redfield said he believes COVID-19 came from the lab.
President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the WHO last year, alleging that the United Nations agency was responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic by credulously accepting false early Chinese data on the virus.
Biden unconditionally rejoined the WHO despite Republicans arguing the body is ineffective.
Humorously summarizing Republican criticism, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) pressed Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, at a recent congressional hearing: “Can we agree that if you took President Xi Jinping and turned him upside and shook him, the World Health Organization would fall out of his pocket?”