Leader of WHO Team Investigating Covid-19 Calls for Closer Look at China Lab


The Danish head of a World Health Organization-led team that traveled to China earlier this year to probe the origins of Covid-19 called for closer scrutiny of a laboratory near the site of the first known cluster of cases at a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

In comments broadcast by Denmark’s state-owned TV 2 and confirmed to The Wall Street Journal, Peter Ben Embarek, a food-safety specialist, said investigators should seek more information about the lab, a research facility run by the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Ben Embarek’s remarks mark the biggest departure by a member of the WHO’s team from their view, expressed at a news conference in February, that a laboratory incident was too unlikely to merit further studies.

“It’s interesting that the lab relocated on the 2nd of December 2019: That’s the period where it all started,” Dr. Ben Embarek said in the TV interview. “We know that when you move a lab, it disturbs everything…That entire procedure is always a disruptive element in the daily work routine of a lab.”

The Wuhan CDC couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. In February, lab workers told the WHO-led team that there were no incidents or mishaps that could have unleashed a virus.

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