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COVID-19 origins tracing should be driven by science, not xenophobia - Kenyan official

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-09-15 10:39
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NAIROBI - The international probe into the origins of COVID-19 should be based on science instead of political bias or xenophobic attitudes, a Kenyan official has said recently.

Raphael Tuju, secretary-general of Kenya's ruling Jubilee Party, said any attempt to investigate the origins of the virus should be informed by scientific analysis and data as opposed to partisan geopolitics.

Commenting on a COVID-19 origins tracing report by the US intelligence, Tuju faulted the move, saying it could jeopardize global efforts to contain the pandemic.

"I think that does not help in the fight against COVID-19 or any other pandemic that may surface," Tuju said during a recent interview with Xinhua in Nairobi.

He said the international community should focus on containing the pandemic through vaccine deployment.

The blame game laced with xenophobia and racism will be counterproductive to the efforts of tracing, said Tuju, adding that only a global consensus combined with sound science will achieve positive outcomes.

He highlighted the fact that China was quick to inform the international community of the emergence of the novel coronavirus, thus helping contain the virus, and that China has been consistent in its transparency regarding the virus besides sharing updated data and information with the World Health Organization (WHO).

He noted that containment measures rolled out by Beijing at the onset of the pandemic including quarantines and lockdowns had averted a widespread strain on global health systems.

Tuju stressed that the success of China's timely interventions -- that included sharing the genetic sequence of the virus -- was instrumental in the development of therapeutics and vaccines.

"So the whole response of China has been quite scientific, quite responsible and devoid of politics," said Tuju, praising Beijing for donating medical supplies to developing countries to help them fight the pandemic.

He said that besides donating vaccines and personal protective equipment, China has been forthcoming in sharing research, experience and expertise in fighting the pandemic with other developing nations.

"Instead of wasting time looking for ways to apportion blame, we should be spending our time trying to deal with this virus, getting the vaccines to work more effectively, getting more people vaccinated," said Tuju.

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