COVID-19 origin-tracing must not be politicized: Cambodian scholar
PHNOM PENH, July 27 (Xinhua) -- A Cambodian scholar on Monday called on some Western countries not to politicize the COVID-19 origin-tracing issue, saying that any origin-tracing should be scientific, not political.
"Virus origin-tracing is a scientific issue, which can only be determined by scientists, not politicians," Chea Munyrith, president of the Cambodian Chinese Evolution Researcher Association, said in an article published on the Fresh News website.
Munyrith said the World Health Organization (WHO)’s work plan for a second-phase origins study was inconsistent with the conclusions of a WHO-China joint study into origin-tracing earlier this year.
Noting that the study in January has made the scientific conclusion that a laboratory leak is "extremely unlikely," he said the work plan of the second-phase origin study was politically motivated by targeting China and was against the spirit of science and cooperation.
The scholar voiced support for China’s decision to reject the work plan, calling on some Western countries to stop slandering China and instead work together to fight against the global pandemic.
Munyrith also accused the Western countries of ignoring the facts and putting the blame on China to cover up their own poor dealings with COVID-19 and to divert public attention from criticizing their governments.
"I believe that science is fair, and the world can be deceived just for a while, not forever," he said. "I hope that the WHO will uphold the spirit of science, professionalism, and objectivity, oppose the politicization of the COVID-19 origin-tracing issue, and support the traceability work in the right way."
Munyrith said that in the first phase of origin-tracing in January, China had already cooperated well and transparently with WHO experts to study the origins of the virus, and a second-phase study should not be carried out at the same places where a clear conclusion had already been reached.
Meanwhile, the academic praised China for its effective measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country, with top priority given to saving lives.
"Moreover, China has spared no effort to assist other countries to combat the pandemic through providing medical equipment and supplies as well as COVID-19 vaccines," he said. "China’s support has saved countless lives around the world."
Munyrith said China’s global fight against the pandemic should be a "good example" for international cooperation.