China says premature to immediately begin a COVID-19 investigation

BEIJING (CNA) – China’s Foreign Ministry said yesterday it was premature to immediately launch an investigation into the origins and spread of the coronavirus that has killed over 300,000 people globally.

Spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters during a daily briefing that the vast majority of countries believe the pandemic is not yet over.

The ministry said in a separate statement that President Xi Jinping will give a video speech for the opening ceremony of the World Health Assembly yesterday.

China reported seven new confirmed coronavirus cases for May 17, up from five a day earlier, the country’s health authority said yesterday.

Of the new cases, the northeastern province of Jilin, currently in a partial lockdown due to a flare-up in infections, reported two confirmed cases.

That takes the total number of new infections in Jilin to 33 since the first case of the current wave was reported on May 7. The financial hub of Shanghai reported one new locally transmitted case for May 17, its first since late March.

The other four new cases in the mainland involved infected travellers arriving in the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia from overseas.

In mainland China, the total number of confirmed cases stood at 82,954 as of May 17, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,633. China also reported 18 new asymptomatic cases on May 17, versus 12 the day before.

China does not include people who test positive but show no symptoms such as a fever in its tally of confirmed infections.

People wearing face masks sit on the banks of the Yangtze River in Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei province. PHOTO: AFP