Washington | AFP: The United States on Saturday praised South Africa for quickly identifying the new Covid strain called Omicron and sharing this information with the world — a thinly veiled blow to China’s handling of the original outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, and they discussed cooperation in vaccinating people in Africa against Covid-19, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
“Secretary Blinken specifically commended South African scientists for the rapid identification of the Omicron variant and the South African government for its transparency in sharing this information, which should serve as a model for the world,” the statement said.
First under Donald Trump and now under President Joe Biden, the United States has repeatedly criticized China for not knowing about the origin of the coronavirus, which was first discovered in December 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan before spreading. spread all over the world. It has now killed nearly 5.2 million people.
In August this year, the U.S. intelligence community released a report saying it couldn’t draw a firm conclusion about the virus’s origin — in animals or in a research lab were top scenarios — because China hadn’t helped with the U.S. probe.
The US has also accused Beijing of taking too long to share crucial information about the outbreak, saying a more transparent approach could have stopped the virus from spreading.
After the US report was released this summer, Biden accused Beijing of obstruction.
“The world deserves answers, and I won’t rest until we have them,” Biden said in a statement after that unclassified report came out.
“Responsible nations do not shirk these kinds of responsibilities from the rest of the world.”
The pandemic is one of many sources of acute tension in US-China relations today as the two superpowers clash over trade, human rights and the thorny issue of Taiwan, among other issues.
Posted by: Mallika Mehzabeen