The pointed words of the top US diplomat echoed concern from other officials of the Biden administration about Beijing’s lack of accountability in the critical early days of the pandemic.
According to Blinken, in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” China did not provide access to foreign experts or exchange facts in real time in order to have full accountability.
As a result, the virus “got out of hand faster and with, I think, much more egregious results than it might otherwise,” Blinken said.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said on March 30 that data was withheld from WHO investigators who travelled to China to investigate the source of the pandemic.
A WHO study published at the time stated that the virus was most likely spread from bats to humans by another species, and that a lab spill was “extremely unlikely” as a source.
Tedros mentioned that the matter needed to be looked into further.
According to Blinken, the incidents demonstrate that a better global health surveillance mechanism is needed to insure that this does not happen again. Reforms must have a dedication to openness, knowledge sharing, and expert access, he said, and “China must play a role in this.”
According to Blinken, it is important to provide a more definitive account about how the pandemic started.
“We need to do that precisely so we fully understand what happened, in order to have the best shot possible preventing it from happening again,” he said. “That’s why we need to get to the bottom of this.”
When the WHO report was issued in March, the United States, the European Union and other Western countries called for China to give “full access” to independent experts to all data about the original outbreak in late 2019.