China rebuffs WHO’s terms for further COVID-19 origins study

BEIJING (AP) – A senior Chinese health official says China cannot accept the World Health Organization’s plan for the second phase of a study into the origins of COVID-19.

National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin says he was “rather taken aback" by the call for a further look into the pandemic’s origins and specifically, the theory that the virus might have leaked from a Chinese lab. He dismissed that theory as a disproved rumor.

The head of the WHO acknowledged last week that it was premature to rule out a potential link between the pandemic and a leak of the coronavirus from a Chinese lab. Zeng says the lab in the city of Wuhan has no virus that can directly infect humans.