India has welcomed the WHO Director General’s readiness to deploy additional missions for the study

India has supported the WHO Director General’s stand on the study of the origins of the Covid-19 outbreak in China wherein he has sought more timely and comprehensive data sharing during future collaborative studies on the coronavirus origins.

India has, however, backed the WHO Director General for raising concern over the issue of delays and difficulties in accessing raw data for the team conducting the study in Wuhan in January 2021.

“We join other stakeholders in voicing their expectations that follow up to the WHO report or further studies, including on an understanding of the earliest human cases and clusters by the WHO on this critical issue, will receive the fullest cooperation of all concerned,” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in response to media queries on the recently WHO-convened global study on the origin of the Covid-19 virus.

He said the WHO report represents an important first step in establishing the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It has listed four pathways concerning the emergence of the disease but has stressed the need for next-phase studies across the region. The report also stresses the need for further data and studies to reach robust conclusions,” the MEA Spokesperson said.

In the meanwhile, a group of 14 countries has expressed “shared concerns” with a WHO-backed study on the origins of the Covid-19 outbreak in China and said they supported an “independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence” of the pandemic.

The 14 countries, comprising Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, South Korea, Slovenia, Britain and the US, have also maintained that the WHO report was significantly delayed and it lacked access to complete, original data and samples.