U.S. Denounces Terms for WHO Inquiry Into Coronavirus Origins

GENEVA (Reuters) -
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) attends a session on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak response of the WHO Executive Board in Geneva, Switzerland, October 5. (Christopher Black/WHO/Handout)

The United States said on Tuesday that the terms under which a World Health Organization-led team of experts is to investigate the origins of the new coronavirus were not transparently negotiated or in line with the mandate agreed by member states.

The Trump administration has accused the U.N. agency of being “China-centric,” which WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has repeatedly denied, and has accused China of having hidden the extent of its initial outbreak.

Garrett Grigsby, head of the global affairs office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told the WHO’s ministerial assembly that member states had been made aware of the investigation’s terms of reference only a few days ago.

“The TOR (terms of reference) were not negotiated in a transparent way with all WHO member states. The TOR and the investigation itself appear to be inconsistent with the mandate provided by member states,” he said, without elaborating.

WHO’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan said on Oct 30 that the WHO-led team of scientists and their Chinese counterparts had held a first virtual meeting regarding joint investigations into the origin of the novel coronavirus that emerged in China late last year and would deploy on the ground in time.