08:50 GMT09 August 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that he is confident the World Health Organization’s investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus in China will be “completely whitewashed.”

    “[China] now is allowing the World Health Organization to go in to conduct, what I am confident will be, a completely, completely whitewashed investigation,” Pompeo said during a briefing.

    Pompeo pointed out that he hopes he will be proven wrong but said that past behaviour, including the destruction of medical samples and the stifling of doctors and journalists, suggests any investigation is unlikely to bear fruit.

    The Secretary of State also said that China’s transgressions are part of an increasingly aggressive stance that the United States seeks to change.

    On Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed that two WHO experts arrived in China to begin a study on the origin of the novel coronavirus. The Chinese authorities have said they are in close contact with the mission and that the origins of the virus is a scientific matter that requires international collaboration and strenuous research.

    A delivery man wearing a mask to curb the spread of the coronavirus walks past graffiti artwork in Beijing Monday, July 13, 2020. China reported eight new cases, all of them brought from outside the country, as domestic community infections fall to near zero.
    © AP Photo / Ng Han Guan
    A delivery man wearing a mask to curb the spread of the coronavirus walks past graffiti artwork in Beijing Monday, July 13, 2020. China reported eight new cases, all of them brought from outside the country, as domestic community infections fall to near zero.

    According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the focus of the study will be transmission of the novel coronavirus from animals to humans. The organization has said the investigation would serve as a prerequisite for a larger international mission.

    The novel coronavirus pandemic started in China in December and initial reports indicated that the start of the outbreak was linked to a market in the city of Wuhan in Hubei Province.

    The United States has criticized China - and the WHO - for its response to the virus. US President Donald Trump has claimed that China's influence in the WHO allowed the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan to morph into a global pandemic when the disease should have been contained within China. Both China and WHO dismissed the claims.

    Tags:
    China, COVID-19, World Health Organization (WHO), Mike Pompeo
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