Zeng Yixin, deputy head of the National Health Commission, told a press conference in Beijing he had been “surprised” to see the lab leak listed as a research objective under the second phase of the investigation.
“In some aspects, the WHO’s plan for next phase of investigation of the coronavirus origin doesn’t respect common sense, and it’s against science. It’s impossible for us to accept such a plan,” he said.
Zeng also appeared to respond to US State Department claims that several workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell sick shortly before the first documented cases of Covid-19, saying “no worker or researcher at the WIV got infected by coronavirus.”
Little new evidence has emerged to support the theory that the virus was the result of an accidental leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where coronavirus research was believed to have been conducted on bats, and many scientists familiar with the research say such a leak is unlikely.
“We ask China to be transparent and open and to cooperate,” he told a news conference. “We owe it to the millions who suffered and the millions who died to know what happened.”
“China’s position on the issue of global origin-tracing is consistent and clear. (The) origins study is a scientific issue. All parties should respect the opinions of scientists and scientific conclusions, instead of politicizing the issue,” he said.