WHO Acknowledges China’s ‘Openness’ To International Probe On Coronavirus Origin

The World Health Organization (WHO) has praised China for its “openness” to work with other countries to further understand COVID-19. A top official from the organization said the country even shared a “consistent message” of willingness to support international efforts to find the origins of the novel coronavirus.

Michael Ryan, health emergencies chief at WHO, made the remarks following reports that questioned China’s information sharing efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the organization appreciates how the country remains open to work with foriegn researchers to explore the disease, New York Post reported Tuesday.

“We’ve been in discussions day to day with our colleagues in China about putting together the necessary scientific inquiries into the origin of the virus,” Ryan said at a news conference on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland. “I think the authorities in China, governments around the world and ourselves are very keen to understand the animal origin of the virus itself.” 

The top WHO official also noted that any effort that aims to identify where the novel coronavirus really started should include “the right mix of scientific experts from a multinational perspective.”

“And I am very pleased to hear a very consistent message coming from China, which is one of openness to such an approach,” Ryan said. 

WHO, China and U.S. Relationships

The health organization previously faced criticism over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and its relationship with China. The issue even led to a suspension of U.S. funding for WHO. 

President Donald Trump announced the decision in mid-April to temporarily cut financial assistance until the White House receives the analysis of WHO’s ties with China. But he announced in a letter to the organization on Monday that he might permanently cease U.S. funding if it failed to commit to “substantive improvements” within the next 30 days.

“I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America’s interests,” Trump wrote. 

Prior to the president’s latest threat, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organization will conduct an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” to improve its response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

China Coronavirus COVID-19 An elderly woman arrives in an ambulance to Wuhan Red Cross Hospital after being transferred from another hospital after recovering from the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wuhan on March 30, 2020. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images