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30 July 2021, 12:41

Push against virus politicization grows amid calls to back science


BEIJING, 30 July (BelTA - China Daily) - Governments, politicians and media outlets have called for a science-based approach to tracing the origins of the coronavirus while speaking out against the politicization of the issue.

Their comments came amid intensified efforts by the United States to spread disinformation on the subject.

The politicization of virus origin tracing, as well as COVID-19 vaccines, should be rejected, the Lao Foreign Ministry said in a recent statement. The ministry said studies into the origin of the virus require objectivity and transparency, with a purely scientific-based approach.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and has brought about untold consequences to lives and the socioeconomic development of the world. No one is safe until everyone is safe," said the statement posted on the ministry's website on Thursday.

Only through multilateral cooperation can all nations, especially developing ones, have equal access to vaccines and medicines and thus lead to the defeat of COVID-19, the statement added.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, in an interview with Radio New Zealand on Friday, said the approach to COVID-19 origin tracing "has to be evidence-based and scientifically based".

"We very much rely on the scientific evidence and there needed to be a further investigation ... our position remains the same as it was," Mahuta said.

The South African Communist Party on Thursday released a statement denouncing the attempts to politicize COVID-19.

In the statement, the party said studies into the origin of the coronavirus are a scientific undertaking. This means they should be viewed in a science-based, objective and fair manner in the interests of advancing global cooperation against the pandemic.

"In this era of pandemics, scientific collaboration across our globe is critical for progress and for the protection of human society. The scientific field of origin or source tracing of viruses is a critical instrument in the campaign against their spread," the statement added.

The scientific findings include the recognition that there are indications that COVID-19 infections emerged before December 2019 in various places across the globe, it added.

Distorting facts

Maldives News Network senior editor Hamdhan Shakeel wrote in an editorial published on Friday that Western countries have attempted to politicize the origin-tracing issue by distorting the facts and shifting the blame onto China.

According to a CGTN Think Tank online opinion poll released on Monday, 80 percent of global respondents believe that the issue has been politicized. The poll was accessed in a number of United Nations official languages, including Chinese, English, Russian, French, Spanish and Arabic.

Shakeel said the task of determining the origin of the virus is far from easy. The editor noted that it took nearly two decades for scientists to identify patient zero in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the case of the Ebola epidemic, scientists have been researching its origin since the 1970s.

These difficulties illustrate that virus origin tracing is highly scientific work, and its politicization will "undoubtedly interfere and obstruct the scientific effort" required to combat the next pandemic, Shakeel said.

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