BEIJING, July 22 (Reuters) - China rejected on Thursday a World Health Organization (WHO) plan for a second phase of an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus, which includes the hypothesis it could have escaped from a Chinese laboratory, a top health official said.
The WHO this month proposed a second phase of studies into the origins of the coronavirus in China, including audits of laboratories and markets in the city of Wuhan, calling for transparency from authorities.
"We will not accept such an origins-tracing plan as it, in some aspects, disregards common sense and defies science," Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC), told reporters.
Zeng said he was taken aback when he first read the WHO plan because it lists the hypothesis that a Chinese violation of laboratory protocols had caused the virus to leak during research.
The head of the WHO said earlier in July that investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China were being hampered by the lack of raw data on the first days of spread there.