BEIJING, KOMPAS.com – More than 2 million Chinese netizens have signed an open letter as of Tuesday afternoon (7/20/2021), demanding that the World Health Organization (WHO) investigate the United States (US) Fort Detrick laboratory regarding the origins of Covid-19.
Global Times reported, the letter was issued when the WHO on Friday (16/7/2021) proposed a second phase study on the origins of the corona virus in China.
The WHO’s proposals include conducting a “laboratory and market audit in Wuhan” and calling for “transparency” from the authorities.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday (7/19/2021) claimed the latest inquiry proposal did not match the position of China and many countries.
Beijing urges the WHO to work with the international community to counter the bad trend of politicizing the issue of the origins of Covid-19.
Read also: China Denies WHO Allegations Obstruct Research on the Origin of Covid-19
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According to Chinese state media, Global Times, a group of Chinese netizens then compiled an open letter asking the WHO to investigate the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Global Times claimed to have been trusted to upload the letter on the WeChat and Weibo platforms on Saturday (17/7/2021) to ask for a public response.
They said in the letter that in order to prevent the next epidemic, WHO should pay special attention to laboratories that are conducting research on dangerous viruses or even biochemical weapons.
The open letter specifically noted the Fort Detrick laboratory, which harbors the world’s deadliest and most infectious viruses, including Ebola, smallpox, SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus.
“The leak of any of them will cause great danger to the world,” the petition reads Global Times.
Prior to this, the same group published an open letter in June calling on the WHO to investigate Fort Detrick.
Global Times claimed to have also launched an online poll on Saturday (17/7/2021). The results as of Monday (19/7/2021) are said to show more than 90 percent of the 18,000 respondents agreed that the WHO should investigate the Fort Detrick biology laboratory.
Read also: WHO asks China to cooperate more to investigate the origin of Covid-19
At a press conference Monday (7/19/2021), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the US should be transparent and face the calls of the international community, including China.
He also called on the US to provide a satisfactory response to open letters and online polls.
“The public and the media are trying to get answers to questions that have been asked by the international community. However, some people in the US have kept it a secret from the public,” Zhao said.
Zhao then returned a series of questions aimed at the US.
“Please answer the following questions: First, what is the connection between the Fort Detrick lab and unexplained respiratory illnesses such as suspected vaping?”
“Second, why didn’t the U.S. invite the WHO to conduct a thorough investigation at Fort Detrick?”
“Thirdly, why can’t international experts visit the US to trace the origin of the virus after visiting China?”
Regarding the WHO’s proposal for further studies on the origins of Covid-19, Zhao said that it was inconsistent with the position of China and many other countries.
Read also: Without China, scientists believe that investigating the origin of Covid-19 is still possible this way
China, he said, hopes that the WHO will have full communication with member countries, listen and adopt the opinions of all parties and ensure that the process of compiling the phase-II study is open and transparent.
“China is concerned about the politicization of tracing the origins of Covid-19 by some countries. We hope that WHO, in the spirit of professionalism and scientific objectivity, will cooperate with the international community to counter the negative trend of politicizing this issue,” Zhao said.
Yang Zhanqiu, Deputy Director of the Department of Pathogen Biology at Wuhan University, told the Global Times that almost all existing variants of the coronavirus have been found in the US.
“In comparison, the type of virus found in China does not have many variants. Therefore, it is appropriate to conduct an investigation of the origin of the virus in the US,” Yang claimed.
The virologist also asked the US to submit a blood sample of the Covid-19 patient, and disclose more information about the country’s epidemiological survey. The aim is to provide a clearer picture of the relationship between the US case and other countries.
He said the US laboratory kept blood samples dating back to the 1980s.
Read also: G7 leaders discuss the origin of Covid-19 when WHO is still opening the Wuhan Lab Leak Theory
In June, a study of more than 24,000 samples was taken for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research program in the US between January 2 and March 18, 2020.
The study found that seven people in five states – Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – may have been infected with Covid-19 long before the state’s first confirmed case was reported on January 21, 2020.
The Chinese government again cites the results of the WHO Covid-18 origins report in China issued on March 30, 2021, reaching conclusions and offering suggestions for the next phase of a global study of its origins, which concludes that the Wuhan “lab leak” hypothesis is highly unlikely. .
As for the results of the WHO report in Wuhan on March 30, 2021, Tedros himself admitted that he did not believe the study was sufficient to explore laboratory theory. He added that all the hypotheses “remain on the table.”