A World Health Organization team member investigating the origins of the COVID-19 warned people not to “rely too much” on US intelligence.
Peter Daszak, a British-American zoologist, criticized the US after the State Department indicated that it would need to independently verify the findings from the WHO trip to the Chinese city of Wuhan.
“Happy to help [the White House with] their quest to verify, but don’t forget it’s ‘TRUST’ then ‘VERIFY’!” he wrote on Twitter.
He also accused President Biden of purposely trying to look “tough on China.”
“Please don’t rely too much on US intel: increasingly disengaged under Trump & frankly wrong on many aspects,” he tweeted.
State Department spokesman Ned Price had previously said that the US needed more transparency from the Chinese in the investigation.
Peter Daszak of the World Health Organization team preparing to leave Wuhan, China on Feb. 10, 2021.AP Photo/Ng Han Guan
“Clearly, the Chinese, at least heretofore, has not offered the requisite transparency that we need and that, just as importantly, the international community needs so that we can prevent these sorts of pandemics from ever happening again,” he told reporters.
“We will work with our partners, and also draw on information collected and analyzed by our own intelligence community … rather than rush to conclusions that may be motivated by anything other than science,” he added.
Following his remarks, Daszak said he was “disappointed” by the country’s approach.
Security personnel keep watch outside Wuhan Institute of Virology on February 3, 2021 during the visit by the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus.REUTERS/Thomas Peter
“I’m disappointed that a statement came out that might undermine the veracity of this work even before the report is released,” he said.
The WHO team concluded Tuesday that it was “extremely unlikely” the virus leaked from a Chinese lab, though they said more research is needed to determine the origin of the pandemic.
The remarks came after investigators wrapped up their visit Tuesday to Wuhan.
Researchers working in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province.Chinatopix via AP, File
The team visited key sites such as hospitals, seafood markets and research facilities.
But they were only allowed on visits organized by their Chinese hosts and weren’t allowed to have contact with members of the community, due to health concerns.
“It is of course impossible to know what you are not being told, but what I am seeing in China, and what this group is seeing in China, is that what we asked for, we are being allowed to do,” Daszak said during the visit.
With Post wires