White House demands transparency from WHO, China on early Covid findings

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The Biden administration has “deep concerns” about the World Health Organization’s early Covid-19 investigation, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Saturday, calling on China to release data from the beginning of the outbreak.

“It is imperative that this report be independent, with expert findings free from intervention or alteration by the Chinese government,” Sullivan wrote in a statement. “Going forward, all countries, including China, should participate in a transparent and robust process for preventing and responding to health emergencies — so that the world learns as much as possible as soon as possible.”

Early in the pandemic, China ignored offers from experts to help investigate the Covid-19 outbreak and has been criticized over its transparency as the pandemic spread globally. The WHO recently concluded that it was unlikely the coronavirus came from a Chinese lab and that it likely came from an animal.

President Joe Biden has moved to rejoin the WHO after former President Donald Trump took the U.S. out of the organization.

In the statement, Sullivan said the WHO’s work “has never been more important” and that “we have deep respect for its experts and the work they are doing every day to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“But re-engaging the WHO also means holding it to the highest standards,” Sullivan wrote. “And at this critical moment, protecting the WHO’s credibility is a paramount priority.”

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