Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus origins probe only first step, EU says

Filed on March 30, 2021
AFP file photo of WHO team members leave for Wuhan to investigate the origins of coronavirus.

Member states highlight the need for further work to study the origins of the virus.

A WHO report into the origins of Covid-19 is a "helpful first step" but more work is needed to understand how it started and how it jumped to humans, the EU said Tuesday.

The reaction came as the World Health Organization (WHO) released a much-delayed report into the origins of the pandemic, obtained by AFP ahead of publication.

"While regretting the late start of the study, the delayed deployment of the experts and the limited availability of early samples and related data, we consider the work carried out to date and the report released today as a helpful first step," the EU said in a statement.

The 27 European Union member states highlighted "the need for further work to study the origins of the virus and its route of introduction to the human population".

Without naming China -- the country where the coronavirus was first detected -- the statement called on "all relevant authorities" to help with the next stages of the probe, so that "any gaps in data needed to further the investigation can be addressed".

The publication of the expert report on the origins of Covid-19 was delayed after diplomatic wrangling scuppered the WHO's attempts to get experts into Wuhan, the city at the centre of the initial outbreak.

A team of experts finally arrived on January 14, more than a year after the first cases surfaced.

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