WHO team investigating Covid origin claim China ‘refused access to data’

A member of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) investigation team attempting to establish the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic has suggested China is frustrating the investigation process.

Dominic Dwyer is one of 10 members of the WHO’s team looking for answers and origins to the global pandemic that his killed over 2.3 million worldwide.

They are looking in Wuhan after the disease first emerged there at the end of 2019.

However, his team has suggested that the Chinese government has refused to hand over raw data showing the first cases of Covid in the city.

The team had requested access to patient data relating to 174 cases that had been identified in Wuhan in December 2019.

Speaking to Reuters, Mr Dwyer, an infectious diseases expert from Australia, claims the team were given only a summary of the information and not the raw data itself.

The data is being seen as key to the investigation as half of the 174 cases are believed to have been exposed to the Huanan Market which is a potential source of the outbreak.

The wet market has since been shut down after Covid-19 spread around the city, China and the world.

Mr Dwyer explained: "That's why we've persisted to ask for that.

"Why that doesn't happen, I couldn't comment. Whether it's political or time or it's difficult.

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“But whether there are any other reasons why the data isn't available, I don't know.

“One would only speculate."

Mr Dwyer is among scientists who remain concerned that the virus originated in China after passing from bats to humans.

It was suggested by WHO the disease did not start in a lab and instead may have been sparked by imported frozen meat.

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Dismissing claims the deadly virus originated anywhere but China, Mr Dwyer told Australia’s Nine News: “The evidence for it starting elsewhere in the world is actually very limited. There is some evidence but it's not really very good.

“We know that other viruses that are closely related to (Covid-19) are present in bats. We know that other viruses like MERS and SARS back in 2003 also came from bats.

“Now these bats don't respect borders of course so they are present not just in China but in other parts on South East Asia and indeed elsewhere around the world.”

“I think the explosion in the Wuhan market was really just an amplifying event. The virus had probably been circulating for some good few weeks beforehand among people in the community.”

There has been an element of distrust in relation to China among much of the global community since the deadly virus first surfaced.

There were fears Chinese officials were trying to cover up the severity of the outbreak in Wuhan in December 2019.

Doctor Li Wenliang, who worked in Wuhan, blew the whistle on virus in December 2019 – before sadly dying of the disease in February 2020 after contracting the virus from a patient.

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