BEIJING -- China said Monday it supports scientists of all countries in carrying out global scientific research on the origin and route of transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and supports member states in conducting cooperation on the animal origin of the virus under the leadership of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a press conference in response to a question regarding China's announcement that an international expert team of the WHO will arrive in China on Thursday to conduct joint research with Chinese scientists on the origin-tracing of the novel coronavirus.
China supports scientists of all countries in carrying out global scientific research on the origin and route of transmission of the virus, and is one of the co-sponsors of a resolution by the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) regarding COVID-19, he said, adding that China also supports member states in conducting cooperation on the animal origin of the virus under the leadership of the WHO.
China invited 10 international experts, in February and July last year, to come to the country, and Chinese experts have maintained frequent interactions with the WHO and international experts through video seminars, introducing China's origin-tracing outcomes, according to Zhao.
The WHO and international experts acknowledged China's achievements in epidemic prevention and control and its efforts in tracing the origin of the virus, and the two sides have reached a basic consensus on origin-tracing, Zhao said.
Tracing the origin of COVID-19 is a scientific issue and the relevant work should be carried out by scientists through global cooperation, he said.
With the continuous changes in the pandemic situation, increasing understanding of the virus and the discovery of more early cases, the tracing of the origin could more likely involve many countries and localities, and the WHO will conduct similar research in other countries and regions if necessary, Zhao added.
China is willing to continue carrying out close cooperation with the WHO and international experts in this regard, to contribute to the global origin-tracing of COVID-19, Zhao said.