Covid leak from Wuhan lab is probable theory, according to head of WHO investigation
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Dr Peter Ben Embarek, head of the World Health Organisation investigation, explained the theory in a new documentary airing on Danish television channel TV2. China has continue to strenuously deny the virus originated from one of its laboratories.
At least 4.3 million people have died since it was first identified in the city of Wuhan in December 2019.
In March 2021, the first part of the WHO investigation concluded that the lab leak theory was “extremely unlikely”.
But Dr Embarek explained why the theory is valid.
He said: “An employee who was infected in the field by taking samples falls under one of the probable hypotheses.
“This is where the virus jumps directly from a bat to a human.
“In that case, it would then be a laboratory worker instead of a random villager or other person who has regular contact with bats.
“So it is actually in the probable category.”
In January, Dr Embarek led a team of experts on the first phase of the WHO-directed investigation which focused on working with local officials in China to find the origin of the global health crisis.
Dr Embarek alleged Chinese officials and scientists were difficult to talk to about the lab leak hypotheses.
The WHO team claimed it was not allowed to access certain information and did not debate the theory until two days before they were due to leave the country, the expert added.
He said: “In the beginning, they didn’t want anything about the lab [in the report], because it was impossible, so there was no need to waste time on that.
“We insisted on including it, because it was part of the whole issue about where the virus originated.”
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Dr Embarek pointed out that the WHO researchers were not allowed to inspect books of documents “directly from the laboratory.”
He added: “We got a presentation, and then we talked about and asked the questions we wanted to ask, but we did not get to look at any documentation at all.”
China has denied WHO’s claims that it withheld information. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China had allowed the team “to see the original data that needed special attention,” although “some information involves personal privacy and cannot be copied and taken out of the country.”
He also rejected claims made by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that “there was a premature push” to drop the lab leak theory.
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