An independent expert team that studied the origins of the COVID-19 virus is scheduled to publish a full report Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Starting on January 14, a 34-member WHO-China joint expert team carried out a 28-day research mission in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the epidemic was first reported. It was part of the global virus origin-tracing scientific cooperation effort.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has kept close communication and cooperation with the WHO in an open and transparent spirit, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin. This has included sharing control measures, treatment plans and study results with the world.
In May 2020, the 73rd World Health Assembly requested that WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus work with partners to identify the zoonotic source of the COVID-19 virus, and the route of its introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts.
Chinese President Xi Jinping voiced support, saying at the opening of the event, "We also need to continue supporting global research by scientists on the source and transmission routes of the virus."
At a press conference earlier this year, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying pointed out that China "invited WHO experts in for relevant international cooperation last February and July" while the country was "still facing an arduous anti-epidemic task domestically."
"When you asked for more, the Chinese scientists would go off, and a couple of days later, they've done the analysis, and we've got new information. It was extremely useful," Peter Daszak, a member of the WHO team that traveled to Wuhan, said in an interview last month.
He dismissed claims that the Chinese side refused to share important data, stressing that the team got "access to critical new data throughout." "As lead of animal/environment working group I found trust & openness with my China counterparts," he tweeted.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also noted that China has "acted in a fact-based manner and with an open, transparent and cooperative approach."
Speaking at a virtual press conference after the conclusion of the fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing, Li stressed that China will continue to work with the WHO on tracing the origins of COVID-19.