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Coronavirus

WHO Wants More Access to Virus Data from China

BERLIN — The head of the World Health Organization says he’s hoping for better cooperation and access to data from China in the search for the origins of the coronavirus.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says getting access to raw data had been a challenge for the international expert team that traveled to China this year to investigate the cause of the outbreak, which was first reported from Wuhan.

Tedros says the Geneva-based body is “asking actually China to be transparent, open and cooperate, especially on the information, raw data that we asked for at the early days of the pandemic.”

He also says there had been a “premature push” to rule out the theory that the coronavirus might have escaped from a Chinese government lab in Wuhan.

“I was a lab technician myself, I’m an immunologist, and I have worked in the lab, and lab accidents happen,” he said. “It’s common. Checking what happened, especially in our labs, is important and we need information, direct information on what the situation of this lab was before and at the start of the pandemic, then, if we get full information, we can exclude that.”

Tedros says the world owed it to the millions who had died “to know what happened and to prevent the same crisis from happening again. And that’s why we need cooperation.”

His words were echoed by Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, who urged Chinese officials to allow the investigation into the origins of the virus to proceed.

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