The leader of a World Health Organisation mission to China to find the origins of the coronavirus has said the team felt political pressure, including from outside China, and difficulties in accessing raw data.

“We got access to quite a lot of data, in many different areas, but of course, there are areas where we had difficulties getting down to the raw data. And there are many good reasons for that,’ said Peter Ben Embarek, the WHO official who led the four-week mission of international experts to China in January and February.

‘In China, like in many other countries, there are restrictions and privacy laws that forbid the sharing of data, including private details to outsiders, in particular if the data are moving out of the country. There would be exactly the same in most countries in the world.’

The US and the UK have sharply criticised the WHO report into the beginnings of the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan, in a statement signed by 12 other countries, implicitly accusing China of ‘withholding access to complete, original data and samples’



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