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WHO official says China refused to allow health agency to participate in coronavirus origin investigation

The WHO reporesentative is also suspicious of China's coronavirus figures

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China has refused to allow the World Health Organization to participate in an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, according to a representative with the health agency.

Dr. Gauden Galea, the WHO's representative to China, told Sky News that China refused to allow members from the World Health Organization to partake in an investigation into the origin of COVID-19.

"We know that some national investigation is happening but at this stage we have not been invited to join," Galea said on Friday.

"WHO is making requests of the health commission and of the authorities," Galea added. "The origins of the virus are very important, the animal-human interface is extremely important and needs to be studied."

"The priority is we need to know as much as possible to prevent the reoccurrence," he said.

Sky News asked Galea if there was a valid reason to not include the WHO into the investigation, and he replied: "From our point of view, no."

Galea is also suspicious of China's coronavirus figures, especially the Chinese total of 41 COVID-19 cases reported between Jan. 3-16. "Is it likely that there were only 41 cases for that period of time? I would think not," Galea said.

The World Health Organization also weighed in on China not allowing its members to be a part of the study.

"It is our understanding that a number of investigations to better understand the source of the outbreak in China are currently underway or planned... WHO is not currently involved in the studies in China," WHO told NBC News.

"WHO would be keen to work with international partners and at the invitation of the Chinese Government to participate in an investigation around the animal origins," the health agency added.

President Donald Trump questioned China's assertation that COVID-19 came from wet markets in Wuhan. On Thursday, Trump said he has a high degree of confidence that the coronavirus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Trump also said that the WHO is a "public relations agency" for China.

The U.S. intelligence community said it is still investigating the origins of the coronavirus outbreak, and has not ruled out that the deadly virus escaped the Chinese Biosafety Level 4 lab in Wuhan. The intelligence community stated that the coronavirus is not a bioweapon.

The Australian government has called for a public investigation into the origin of the coronavirus outbreak.

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