The US government on Saturday called on China to make available data from the earliest days of the COVID-19 outbreak, saying it has “deep concerns” about the way the findings of the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 report were communicated.

This was stated by White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan who said in a statement that it is imperative that the report be independent and free from “alteration by the Chinese government.”

This was the same concern raised by the administration of former President Donald Trump, who also moved to quit the WHO over the issue.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy fired back with a strongly-worded statement, saying the United States had damaged multilateral cooperation and the WHO in recent years, and should not be “pointing fingers” at China and other countries that supported the WHO during the COVID-19 pandemic.

China welcomed the U.S. decision to reengage with the WHO, but Washington should hold itself to the “highest standards” instead of taking aim at other countries, the spokesperson said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday said all hypotheses were still open about the origins of COVID-19, after Washington said it wanted to review data from a WHO-led mission to China, where the virus first emerged.

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