Beijing, March 29
A joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely,” according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press.
The findings were largely as expected and left many questions unanswered. The team proposed further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis.
The report’s release has been repeatedly delayed, raising questions about whether the Chinese side was trying to skew the conclusions to prevent blame for the coronavirus pandemic falling on China.
A World Health Organisation official said late last week that he expected it would be ready for release “in the next few days”.
The AP received what appeared to be a near-final version on Monday from a Geneva-based diplomat from a WHO-member country. It wasn’t clear whether the report might still be changed prior to its release. The diplomat did not want to be identified because they were not authorised to release it ahead of publication. (AP)