Trying getting past them to do some fact-finding
Trying getting past them to do some fact-findingReuters

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday that it has successfully concluded its visit to China, clarifying that the two-member team that spent two weeks there was on an “advance mission” to prepare the ground for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, The Telegraph noted that the two officials remained closeted in a hotel near Beijing for nearly the entire duration of the trip, and that Wuhan, the city where the virus is believed to have originated, was not even on their schedule to visit.

Instead, the WHO officials held multiple telephone and video conversations with Chinese health officials, including several with senior scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Only a few face-to-face meetings were held, all in Beijing, raising the obvious question of why they bothered to travel to China at all.

More than 120 countries have called for an international investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus, and China has reportedly agreed to cooperate, without specifying exactly how it proposes to do so. In July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo categorically dismissed the chances of any WHO inquiry in China yielding fruitful results, saying that it would be “completely, completely whitewashed,” and noting that Chinese authorities in the past have destroyed virus samples and silenced anyone who dared to speak out.

In the wake of this week’s WHO announcement, Australian MP Dave Sharma told the FinancialTimes that “this is another disturbing incident of the WHO – which is charged with safeguarding global public health – putting the political sensitivities of a member state above the public health interests of the world.”

WHO did not respond to concerns raised, merely noting that following its “successful mission,” it invited all WHO member states to propose experts to take part in a future mission that would commence shortly.