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China stresses scientific origin-tracing of virus as 48 nations submit letters to WHO on the issue | Updated: 2021-07-16 08:55
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Photo taken on March 30, 2021 shows an exterior view of the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. [Photo/Xinhua]

China has reiterated that the study of the origin of COVID-19 is a matter of science and opposes politicization of the pandemic.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson has responded to letters on the issue submitted by 48 countries to the WHO. The spokesperson says the letters voice developing countries' overwhelming support for justice. But a handful of countries, led by the US, stigmatize the pandemic, put a geographical label on the virus, and politicize the study.

The spokesperson called for countries to work with the international community with a responsible scientific attitude. China was one of the earliest countries to cooperate with the WHO on the study of the origin of the virus.

Permanent representatives of 48 countries to the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) on Thursday addressed to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and voiced their support to advance the study of origins of SARS-CoV-2 globally and opposed the politicization of the origin-tracing.

The diplomats highlighted that COVID-19 is a common enemy of mankind, and it can only be defeated by solidarity and cooperation of the international community.

Cooperation on the study of origins of the SARS-CoV-2 is an important aspect of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, they said in the letter. "As provided in the resolution WHA 73.1 entitled COVID-19 response, the purpose of the origin-tracing is to identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts."

The diplomats stressed that the study of origins is "a matter of science, and should be conducted around the world by scientists".

"Origin-tracing shall not be politicized," they said. "Otherwise the global cooperation on the study of origins will be hindered, and the global anti-pandemic efforts will be jeopardized."

The diplomats also welcomed the publication of the Joint Report of the WHO-convened global study of origins of SARS-CoV-2 and appreciated the hard work of the scientists of the joint experts group, stressing that the global study on origin-tracing "should be based on and guided by this scientific report".

They called on the WHO Secretariat, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the World Health Assembly (WHA), to cooperate with member states to advance the study of origins around the world, and take effective measures to prevent political factors from interfering with the study process. 

Xinhua and CGTN contributed to this story. 

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