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AP reports on latest comments from the World Health Organisation on the potential origins of COVID-19: "A World Health Organization expert says the coronavirus is unlikely to have leaked from a Chinese lab and most probably jumped to humans via an intermediary species. WHO food safety and animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek made the assessment in a summation Tuesday of a WHO team's investigation into the possible origins of the coronavirus in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first cases were discovered in December 2019."
- The origins of COVID-19 have been the subject of intense international speculation since the outbreak emerged last year.
- It has also sparked several international incidents. The most bitter emerging between Australia and China. Australian PM Scott Morrison called for an international inquiry into Beijing's handling of the initial outbreak. This resulted in a further deterioration in already-strained relations between the two countries culminating in the implementation of tariffs on a large number of Australian exports including timber, lamb and beef, wine, cotton, coal, and barley.
- The WHO has itself been on the end of some criticism, notably from former US President Donald Trump who said the organisation and its leadership was too close to China. As such, there is likely to be a significant section of the US, and other Sino-sceptic nations, that may see the WHO claims as an attempt to get Beijing 'off the hook' with regards to the spread of COVID-19.