US and China clash at WHO over scientific mission in Wuhan

US and China clash at WHO over scientific mission in Wuhan

American delegation’s call for local interviews draws rebuke from Beijing

GENEVA (Reuters) — The United States called on China on Monday to allow an expert team from the World Health Organization (WHO) to interview “care givers, former patients and lab workers” in the central city of Wuhan, drawing a rebuke from Beijing.

The team of WHO-led independent experts trying to determine the origins of the new coronavirus arrived on Jan. 14 in Wuhan where they are holding teleconferences with Chinese counterparts during a two-week quarantine before starting work on the ground.

The United States, which has accused China of hiding the extent of its initial outbreak, has called for a “transparent” WHO-led investigation and criticised the terms of the visit, under which Chinese experts have done the first phase of research.

Garrett Grigsby of the Department of Health and Human Services, who heads the U.S. delegation, said China should share all scientific studies into animal, human and environmental samples taken from a market in Wuhan, where the SARS-CoV-2 virus is believed to have emerged in late 2019.