Uphold Science-based Origin Tracing and Stand United Against The Pandemic
Ouyang Yujing, Ambassador of China to Malaysia
2021/08/26

The COVID-19 pandemic is currently raging across the world with over 200 million people infected and 4.4 million deaths recorded. It has become the world’s most devastating infectious disease of the century.

 

 

For mankind to defeat COVID-19, we must understand the virus. China actively engaged in origin-tracing cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) from the early outbreak of COVID-19, shared the genome sequencing of the virus at the earliest time possible. China also invited WHO experts to China twice for origin-tracing research, and provided the expert team full support. They visited every site on their list, met every individual they asked for. After that, WHO released the China-WHO Joint Study Report on COVID-19 origin tracing which clearly concluded that a lab leak of COVID-19 is "extremely unlikely". The report also outlined several recommendations including “searching for possible early COVID-19 cases around the world”, and the “necessity to study the possibility of virus transmission via cold chain”, which are widely recognized by the international society and scientific community.

 

A increasing number of evidences prove that the virus has long been lurking in human communities. Researches conducted by medical institutions and medical experts showed that COVID-19 was detected in Europe as early as November 2019, and they opined that based on the overall situation of COVID-19, it is an obvious fact that COVID-19 has multiple origins and broke out in multiple places.

 

It is a common understanding among the scientific community that the virus evolve in nature. On July 5, 24 internationally-renowned scientists, including a well-known Malaysian virologist, published an open letter in The Lancet noting that COVID-19 generated and evolved in nature. On July 7, scientists from the US, the UK and Australia published a preprint paper on Zenodo, a European research data sharing platform, pointed that no evidence showed COVID-19 originated from the Wuhan labs.

 

Nonetheless, several countries disregard these existing scientific evidence. Instead, they politicize the matter of science, instruct intelligence agency to carry out origin-tracing investigation, smear and slander other countries, and even threaten and press the WHO Secretariat and international experts by all kinds of means.

 

The voice of justice shall not be ignored. Over 80 countries, whether through letters to WHO Director-general, statements or diplomatic notes, expressed their support for the China-WHO Joint Study Report and opposed the politicizing COVID-19 origin tracing. More than 300 political parties, organizations and think tanks from over 100 countries and regions submitted a joint statement to the WHO Secretariat, urging the WHO to conduct COVID-19 origin-tracing research in an objective and fair manner, and opposing politicizing origin tracing as well.

 

Virus has no borders, nor does it recognize ethnicity. China, like other countries, is a victim of the pandemic. We all hope to find the source of the virus and and cut off its transmission as early as possible. China always uphold that COVID-19 origin tracing must be based on science, and any politicization of the origin-tracing effort must be opposed.

 

Right now, respecting the science and advocating cooperation are the correct approaches. The purpose of virus origin tracing is to enhance the scientific understanding of viruses, allowing us to deal with major infectious diseases better in the future. From mankind’s experience, the origin tracing of AIDS, Ebola, MERS, SARS and the 2009 Swine Flu involved complicated scientific problems across multiple disciplines and fields. The origin tracing of COVID-19 is of no difference, and the answer can only be found by scientists through research.

 

As the virus continues to mutate and wreak havoc, combating the pandemic remains our utmost priority. China has provided over 800 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to over 100 countries and international organizations. On August 5, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China would strive to provide 2 billion doses of vaccine to the world throughout this year and donate US$100 million to the COVAX program in an effort to make new contributions to the global pandemic fight. I believe that as long as the whole world stands united and works together, mankind will be able to dispel the dark clouds of the pandemic and usher in a victory against COVID-19!

 

 

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