Covid-19 ‘Wuhan lab leak theory’ is a fabrication, says China’s ambassador to SA

30 August 2021 - 12:54 By shonisani tshikalange
Akyiaa Wilson is tested for Covid-19 in a mobile testing van in New York City in the US. File photo.
Akyiaa Wilson is tested for Covid-19 in a mobile testing van in New York City in the US. File photo.
Image: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Embassy of China in SA has described the “Wuhan lab leak theory” regarding the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic as a complete fabrication.

The embassy held a virtual briefing to address the issue on Monday.

China’s ambassador to SA Chen Xiaodong said the country had nothing to hide and had been open and transparent about origin-tracing.

He said the US government wanted to use origin-tracing to smear and attack China.

“The Chinese invited the World Health Organisation (WHO) twice, in July last year and March this year respectively, for origin-tracing in China and we fully supported the WHO expert team’s work.

“During the trips, the Chinese side made every effort to organise and co-ordinate among relevant departments to meet the requirements of WHO experts on their visit.

“A number of experts on the team said they visited all the places they wanted to visit, and met with everyone they wanted to meet. During the team’s visits to China, the Chinese side presented all the key raw data in great detail. This includes patient data from 174 early cases,” said Xiaodong.

He said the timeline of China’s Covid-19 response proved the country had no reservations about sharing information with the world.

“On December 27 2019, Dr Zhang Jixian, director of the department of respiratory and critical care medicine at the Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrative Medicine, was the first to report three cases of unknown pneumonia. This is the first time a suspicious case was reported by a local department in China. On the same day, the Wuhan CDC conducted an epidemiological investigation and testing of relevant patients.

“On December 30, the Wuhan Health Commission (WHC) issued an urgent notice on reporting the treatment of unknown pneumonia. On December 31 the WHC issued a briefing on the pneumonia outbreak in the city. On the same day, China notified the WHO representative office in China of information on pneumonia cases of unknown origin in Wuhan,” he said. 

Xiaodong said China started to timely and actively share Covid-19 information with WHO and countries including the US from January 3 2020.

“From January 3 to February 3 2020, China shared with the US information about the outbreak and China’s response measures 30 times. China had already completed the identification and genome-sequencing of the virus on January 7 2020 and shared the genome sequence of the virus with WHO and other countries on January 11.”

On January 10 last year, Covid-19 detection kits had been developed and work started to develop Covid-19 vaccines and medicine, said Xiaodong.

He charged that some US politicians were obsessed with stigmatising the coronavirus by associating it with certain countries and places.

“These moves do nothing but politicise Covid-19 origin-tracing. These politicians also attempt to pressure WHO into conducting a so-called ‘phase 2 investigation into China’.

“In the name of origin-tracing that should have been based on science, the US attempts to plant evidence to incriminate China. Whatever the US side says or does on origin-tracing has turned into nothing but a farce and a terrible scandal for the international community.”