China ‘shocked’ over WHO plan for second phase of COVID origins study

A top Chinese official on Thursday expressed his dismay at the World Health Organization’s plan for the second phase of its COVID-19 origins study. 

Zeng Yixin, the vice minister of China’s National Health Commission, said the decision was not based on science and reiterated the claim that the virus was “naturally generated.” Reuters reported that China refused to follow the plan because its written in a way that does not respect science.

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.

The ruling Chinese Communist Party announced in May that it also would not participate or support a second phase of the WHO’s investigation into COVID origins.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top disease expert in the U.S., told CNN on Saturday that he believes the “most likely explanation is a natural evolution from an animal reservoir to a human.” Epidemiologists around the world continue to look for early clues into the virus to better understand it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report