At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging worldwide, with the viruses mutating constantly, the international community are in dire need of, more than ever, unity to combat the pandemic and a science-based approach to global cooperation on origin-tracing of the virus. Unfortunately, some countries are sparing no effort in politicizing the origin probe and manufacturing and spreading “political viruses” that constitute new barriers to joint efforts to overcome this public health crisis. Origin-tracing is a scientific issue that brooks no political intervention and that should not be used as leverage for one’s own political advantage.
China’s position on global origin-tracing is consistent and clear-cut. Origin-tracing is a matter of science. It should be and can only be left to scientists to identify, through scientific research, the virus’s zoonotic source and animal-human transmission routes. However, some countries have been pursuing politicization, stigmatization and the use of origin-tracing as a tool. They order intelligence inquiry into the origins of the virus in China and hype up the unfounded “lab leak” conspiracy based on the presumption of guilt. This is undermining the very foundation of global unity to battle the pandemic, and crippling the virus probe efforts that should have been objective and impartial. Essentially this is a manifestation of disregard for people’s rights to their lives and health. A recent online survey report released by CGTN Think Tank reveals that 80% of the global netizens who participated in the poll believe “the issue of virus tracing on COVID-19 has been politicized”.
The findings and recommendations of the WHO-China joint study report are widely recognized by the international community and scientists, and must be respected and implemented by all parties, including WHO. China has been open and transparent as it is actively engaging in science-based international cooperation in origin tracing. As the first country to work with the World Health Organization (WHO), China invited WHO experts twice to China for origin studies. At the beginning of the year, the WHO independently selected 17 international experts from the US, Britain, Japan, Australia, etc. to team with their Chinese counterparts in conducting a 28-day field study in Wuhan, China. The experts went to all the places they wanted to go, met all the people they wanted to meet, reached a scientific conclusion in the joint WHO-China study report that a laboratory leak is extremely unlikely, and recommended conducting further research around earlier cases globally, and studying the possibility of cold chain transmission of the virus, etc. The future work of global origin-tracing should and must proceed from that basis, instead of reinventing the wheel.
Origin tracing should be conducted on a global scale. Being the first country to report the virus does not necessarily make it the origin of the virus. Research only in that country is far from enough. At present, there is increasing media coverage of COVID-19 cases emerging in many countries in the second half of 2019. Skepticism is rising over Fort Detrick bio-lab virus leak in the media reports. Therefore, origin probe should be conducted more extensively across the world to search for early cases, to carry out molecular epidemiology study and identify animal reservoirs and intermediate hosts.
A virus that knows no border can only be defeated through solidarity. Since the onset of the pandemic, China, upholding the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, has provided 2 billion US dollars in assistance for the COVID-19 response and economic and social recovery in developing countries hit by the pandemic while providing more than 280 billion masks, 3.4 billion protective suits and 4 billion testing kits to the world. Another 3 billion USD will be provided for international assistance in the next 3 years. China has honored its pledge to make vaccines a global public good by leading the efforts to carry out the world’s largest vaccine cooperation campaign, providing more than 770 million doses of vaccines to other countries, the most of any nation in the world. Recently at the First Meeting of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in his address that China will strive to provide 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world throughout this year and offer 100 million US dollars to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility.
China-Dominica friendship has also been heightened as the two countries move ahead with anti-pandemic cooperation. Since the outbreak, China has donated multiple batches of masks, protective suits, forehead thermometers, test kits and vaccines and gifted the urgently needed PCR test kits amidst Dominica’s recent infection spike. It is believed that the Dominican Government and people shall prevail over this pandemic with their relentless effort.
China is committed to science-based global cooperation on origin tracing and will continue to make greater contributions to the global fight against the pandemic while endeavoring to build a global community of health for all.