The possibility that the Covid-19 pandemic was triggered by a leak from a Chinese laboratory has been discussed by G7 leaders, the head of the World Health Organization said.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “it was raised” and “we discussed the origins”.
A WHO investigation into the origin of the pandemic has not ruled out any theory behind the outbreak.
A team of experts from WHO and China said in February that the virus was “extremely unlikely” due to a laboratory-related incident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
But the WHO has said “all hypotheses are still on the table” and wants to carry out a second phase of its work, while US President Joe Biden has ordered an investigation into the origins including the leak theory.
U.S. intelligence agencies are divided over how the Covid pandemic began, with some believing it was due to a laboratory accident and others to human contact with an animal.
Dr. Tedros told reporters at the G7 summit, “We believe that all hypotheses should be open and we need to move on to phase two to really know the origins.”
He said that nearly 3.75 million people have died and “the respect these people deserve is knowing the origin of this virus so we can prevent it from happening again”.
Mike Ryan, WHO Executive Director of the Emergency Health Program, said: “In relation to the origins of the virus, WHO believes it is extremely important to understand the origins of this particular virus that caused the global pandemic.
“There are many hypotheses for this origin and the international team that Dr. Tedros sent to the team at the request of the World Health Assembly has carried out a number of studies and investigations.
“All the hypotheses are still on the table.
“More studies are needed to elucidate the origins of the virus.
“We want to move forward with this second phase as quickly as possible and bring in further expertise and work with our Member States to ensure that we have an appropriate role, an appropriate team and an appropriate approach with which we can all move forward.” working together to understand the origins of the virus. “
When asked if the Wuhan laboratory leak theory was discussed at the summit, Dr. Tedros: “Yes, it was mentioned and we discussed the origins.”
As things stand at present, the UK does not believe that the Covid pandemic has leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, the Foreign Minister has revealed – only “on the balance sheet” and “for the time being”.
Dominic Raab said the UK’s “best information” was still that they “jumped” from animals to humans – but admitted they did not have “all the answers”.
“If you ask me if the chances are that we believe it came from a laboratory, our best information right now is that it doesn’t, but we don’t have all the answers,” he told Sky News.
“That’s why we wanted the international review to go to China to get all the answers, to have all of the cooperation, so that we have a complete picture and not these possible, potential, plausible options.
“But the bottom line is that we don’t believe that it came from a laboratory, we believe that it was much more likely to have passed from animals to humans.”