China says ‘shocked’ by WHO plan for COVID origins study

International

FILE – In this Monday, May 24, 2021 file photo, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks at the WHO headquarters, in Geneva, Switzerland. The head of the World Health Organization said Thursday, July 15 that he is asking China to be more transparent as scientists search for the origins of the coronavirus and acknowledged it was premature to rule out that the pandemic may have been linked to a laboratory leak. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP, File)

BEIJING (AP) — A senior Chinese health official said Thursday he was shocked by the World Health Organization’s plan for the second phase of a COVID-19 origins study.

National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin dismissed the lab leak theory as a rumor running counter to common sense.

The head of the WHO acknowledged last week that it was premature to rule out a potential link between the pandemic and a leak of the coronavirus from a Chinese lab.

Zeng said that the lab in the city of Wuhan has no virus that can directly infect humans. He said that China has made repeated clarifications and does not accept the WHO plan.

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