World Health Organisation needs to stand up to China: Senator Jacqui Lambie

The World Health Organisation needs to stand up to China over an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, outspoken senator Jacqui Lambie says.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, on Wednesday said studies suggested the outbreaks began in multiple locations around the world.

But Australian scientist Dominic Dwyer, who was involved in the WHO investigation, has revealed that he believed they began in China.

This is despite a WHO report finding no conclusive evidence about the origins of the virus.

Speaking on Today, Senator Lambie said she didn’t have faith in the WHO to hold China to account.

“It takes courage to go at China and be honest with them,” she said.

“We need to find out where it came from, why it’s mutating.

“If China wants to hide away from it, so be it. I say give it to them.”

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Professor Dwyer told Today he did not think China was lying about the origins of the virus but said it was a “question of interpretation”.

“The data, to say that it started elsewhere, is limited,” he said.

“The evidence is clear that the virus exploded in Wuhan, no question about that whatsoever.

“The tricky part is trying to understand what happened just before that.”

He said there was no evidence that it started in a laboratory but added it was “very difficult” to go back and work out what happened prior to cases in December 2019.

Mr Wang said China would remain “open and transparent” and continue co-operating with WHO about COVID-19.

However, he urged that it was necessary for experts to visit other countries and regions too.

“Origin tracing is a complex scientific issue involving many countries and regions, and it should be carried out by global scientists in collaboration,” he said.

“There are also a number of clues, reports, and studies that suggest the outbreaks began in multiple locations around the world as early as the second half of 2019.”

Mr Wang also pointed the finger at the US, saying there were reports that coronavirus may have been present there before the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was officially reported in the country.

“We hope that the US side will adopt the same open and transparent attitude as China and invite WHO experts to carry out origin-tracing studies in the United States,” he said.

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