WHO virus team 'to scrap interim report'

A WHO team arrived in China in January and spent four weeks investigating the origins of COVID-19.
A WHO team arrived in China in January and spent four weeks investigating the origins of COVID-19.

A World Health Organisation team investigating the origins of COVID-19 is planning to scrap an interim report on its recent mission to China amid US-China tensions and an appeal from one international group of scientists for a new probe, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In Geneva, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in an email reply: "The full report is expected in coming weeks".

No further information was immediately available about the reasons for the delay in publishing the findings of the WHO-led mission to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first human cases of COVID-19 were detected in late 2019.

China refused to give raw data on early COVID-19 cases to a WHO-led team probing the origins of the pandemic, Dominic Dwyer, an Australian member of the team said last month, potentially complicating efforts to understand how the outbreak began.

The probe had been plagued by delays, concern over access and bickering between China and the US, which accused Chinese authorities of hiding the extent of the initial outbreak and criticised the terms of the visit under which Chinese experts conducted the first phase of research.

The team, which arrived in China in January and spent four weeks looking into the origins of the outbreak, was limited to visits organised by their Chinese hosts and prevented from contact with community members, due to health restrictions.

The first two weeks were spent in hotel quarantine.

Australian Associated Press