WHO Backs Communist China, Blames Australian Beef for COVID-19
Investigators accused of whitewashing after declaring Wuhan lab will not be probed further
The World Health Organization (WHO) has triggered outrage declaring that it will no longer investigate China's involvement in the origins of COVID-19 while backing the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) claims that Australian beef may be to blame for the global pandemic.
WHO scientists have given credibility to CCP's claim that the coronavirus outbreak may have started outside China and was imported into Wuhan via frozen foods from abroad.
A team of 14 scientists has been investigating the origins of the pandemic during a month-long fact-finding mission.
Researchers wrapped their findings by echoing Communist Party's assertions that "cold-chain products," such as Australian beef, likely triggered the initial outbreak.
The leader of the WHO team, Dr. Peter Embarek, concluded that further studies must be carried out into whether the virus was imported into China.
He suggested that imported frozen meats sold at the Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan, where the first cluster of cases was detected in December 2019, were a likely source.
WHO investigators also ruled out the possibility the virus leaked from a lab, calling it "extremely unlikely" and declaring no further study should be undertaken into the theory, according to The Daily Mail.
The heavily-controlled visit is a major PR coup for the authoritarian state, which has repeatedly tried to pin the blame on other countries.
It will also give ammunition to WHO's critics, who feared the investigation would be used to give legitimacy to a Chinese white-washing exercise - with possibly embarrassing or incriminating evidence hidden from investigators.
In the aftermath of the initial outbreak, Beijing officials tried desperately to cover-up the growing number of deaths in Hubei Province by silencing anyone who tried to warn about the respiratory disease.
Since then China has attempted to shift the narrative through its "Wolf Warrior" diplomats and state-owned media mouthpieces.
"As the mounting sporadic outbreaks in China were found to be related to imported cold-chain products, with other parts of the world, including Europe and the American continent, reportedly discovering signs of the coronavirus earlier than Wuhan," an article in CCP-controlled newspaper The Global Times asked in December last year.
"It begs a new hypothesis – did the early outbreak in Wuhan originate from imported frozen food?"
Chinese officials also pointed the finger at a number of other countries including Bangladesh, the US, Greece, India, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, and Serbia.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: "The tracing of the virus origin will most likely involve multiple countries and localities."
Australia's diplomatic relationship with China soured during the pandemic after Prime Minister Scott Morison called for the investigation into the origins of coronavirus, and the subsequent cover-ups which followed.
China retaliated by relentlessly targeting Australia in an increasingly aggressive and belligerent campaign of economic sanctions and blockades.
Beijing imposed a litany of unofficial bans and arbitrary tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Australian exports after Canberra called for the inquiry.
Six of Australia's top beef distributors were hit with blanket bans along with cotton, timbre, seafood, and coal producers.
The wine industry Down Under was hit with a crippling 212 percent tariff - contravening the two nation's 2015 Free Trade agreement - while barely growers also had an 80 percent barrier slapped on exports.
Australia is now preparing to take legal action against China at a World Trade Organisation tribunal, but the process to have the tariffs removed could take several years.
The WHO has previously come under fire from world leaders including President Trump for being "China-centric" and uncritically parroting Beijing propaganda - playing down the severity of the disease until it was too late to stop it from becoming a crippling pandemic.
Dr. Tedros, the WHO chief, has also come in for heavy criticism for his praise of China - describing its "commitment to transparency" as "beyond words" during the early stages of the outbreak, despite strong doubts about data coming from Beijing and a past history of covering up potential pandemics.
It was also revealed that Dr. Tedros received support from Beijing while in the running to become WHO chief and that China has often donated large sums of money to governments or organizations that he has been a part of.
During his press conference, Dr. Embarek also backed assertions from Beijing that there is no evidence of transmission "in Wuhan or elsewhere" in China before December 2019 - despite multiple studies suggesting the virus was circulating globally months earlier than that.
Outlining the findings of his team's month-long study trip, Dr. Embarek said the team had failed to establish how the virus first jumped into humans.