World

WHO blasts critics of its Covid-19 probe in China

GENEVA: The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday blasted critics of its investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and challenged those claiming to know better to come forward with the smoking gun.

A WHO investigative team is in Wuhan, China - where the first cases were discovered in December 2019 - trying to piece together how the virus jumped from animals to humans before going on to kill more than two million people.

The UN agency's emergencies director Michael Ryan hit out at those sniping at the mission and said many critics were saying they "won't accept the report when it comes out", or that there is "other intelligence available that may show different findings" on how the virus broke out.

"If you have the answers... please let us know," he said at WHO's Geneva headquarters.

He asked how responsible it was "to say you won't accept a report before it's even written? To say that you have intelligence that has not been provided?"

Meanwhile, the investigation team arrived yesterday at a Wuhan animal health facility.

Team member Peter Daszak told journalists the mission was "excellent" and proceeding "very well" as the group was driven into the facility.

COUNTERFEIT

In a separate development, Chinese police have arrested more than 80 people who were making counterfeit Covid-19 vaccines, state media said. The gang had been putting saline water into vials and selling them as vaccines since last September, according to Xinhua News Agency. - AFP

WORLD