WHO chief asks China to share requested data to probe origins of Covid-19

GENEVA: director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday called on China to share requested data regarding Covid-19 in order to understand the origins of the virus.
“We continue to call on China to share the data and conduct the studies we have requested, to better understand the origins of this virus,” the official said. WHO chief said at a press conference, quoted in a statement posted on the organization’s website.
“As I have said many times, all assumptions remain on the table,” he added.
Three years after its emergence in China Wuhanexactly how SARS-CoV-2 first emerged as a respiratory pathogen capable of sustained human-to-human transmission remains a subject of active debate.
Experts have put forward two prevailing theories about the origins of the virus. The first theory is that SARS-CoV-2 is the result of natural zoonotic spillover. The second theory is that the virus infected humans following a research-related incident.
According to Reuters, a WHO body meets every few months to decide whether the new coronavirus has killed more than 6.6 million people, still presents a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC).
The WHO chief said he “hopes” the Covid-19 pandemic will no longer be considered a global health emergency next year.
“We hope that at some point next year we can say that Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency,” the WHO chief said at a press conference, quoted in a statement posted on the organization’s website.
He recalled that a year ago, the Omicron variant “had just been identified and was beginning to take off”.
“At that time, Covid-19 was killing 50,000 people every week. Last week, less than 10,000 people lost their lives worldwide. That’s still 10,000 too many – and there’s still a lot all countries can do save lives – but we’ve come a long way,” he added.
The WHO chief said the criteria for declaring the emergency over will be discussed at the next emergency committee meeting in January.
He added that the virus “will not go away”, but that all countries “will have to learn how to manage it alongside other respiratory diseases, including influenza and RSV, which are now circulating intensely in many countries”.


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