xi's moments
Home | Newsmakers

Put science first on virus, figures say

China Daily | Updated: 2021-08-10 09:57

Voices grow for politics to be shut out of efforts to trace origins of COVID-19

Influential figures around the world are stepping up their call for a science-based approach to efforts to determine the origins of the virus behind the pandemic in the face of growing politicization of the issue.

Media outlets, politicians and experts are particularly concerned by the United States' intensifying efforts to spread disinformation on the subject.

The US' politicization of the issue and disdain for the scientific facts on the tracing of the virus that causes COVID-19 are part of a false flag operation, an article in the Maldives News Network said on Sunday.

While most nations are calling for a transparent and scientifically driven investigation into the origins of the virus, the US has made a firm stance in departing from this view, wrote Hamdhan Shakeel, a social advocate and activist in the Maldives.

The US has politicized the COVID-19 pandemic to such an extent that it has given rise to racially motivated attacks against Asians living there, Shakeel said.

The country is engaging in unethical propaganda to shift the blame for its failure to safeguard the lives of its own people in the pandemic and control a disease that may have originated from within its own borders, the activist said.

Former Egyptian diplomat Ali el-Hefny said the US has exerted pressure on the World Health Organization. The agency's proposal to conduct a second phase of COVID-19 origin tracing in China reflects this, and the issue has become politicized.

He said China has already received a WHO delegation, which stayed for a long time to study the origins of the virus and concluded in a report that a leak from a laboratory was "extremely unlikely".

China also facilitated the scientists' meetings and field visits during the research, said Hefny, who had served as Egypt's ambassador to China and as a deputy foreign minister.

By pressing for a second round of origin tracing, the Western countries aim to stir up confusion and doubts about China's transparency, Hefny said in a recent interview.

Hefny characterized the politicization of COVID-19 as a disease that is afflicting the world. He added that political interference on pandemic issues is even more shameful given that lives are affected.

Hefny and other figures also stress the need for cooperation on issues relating to the pandemic.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn said that international solidarity against COVID-19 is more important than finger pointing, according to a statement from the foreign ministry on Saturday.

Prak Sokhonn, who is also Cambodia's foreign minister, made the remark during the 28th Regional Forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations held via video link on Friday.

Solidarity needed

The statement said that during the meeting, the ministers emphasized the importance of enhancing regional and international solidarity and cooperation in making a collective response to the pandemic.

Stephen Winchester, a consultant virologist at Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services in the UK, said people should be patient and consider all the evidence. He cited previous epidemics as an example.

"If you look at the epidemic with the SARS-CoV-1, it took over a decade to really get a full understanding of the origins," Winchester said in an interview with Xinhua. "So it gives you an idea of the time scale it actually takes to fully understand the origins of these epidemics.

"Opinions and theories are just that often, but they are opinions and theories; they are not necessarily aligned with the main body of evidence."

A global disease requires a global understanding, and more international collaboration can accelerate the origin-tracing process, he said.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349