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WHO Cancels Interim Report on China COVID Investigation

Commuters wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus walk through a subway station in Beijing, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. China has been regularly reporting no locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 as it works to maintain…

A Wall Street Journal report says World Health Organization investigators who recently visited China to determine the origins of the emergence of the COVID-19 virus will not release a promised interim report of their findings.

The Journal account, published Thursday, said the WHO team decided not to release its interim account “amid mounting tensions between Beijing and Washington.” Another international group of scientists has called for the WHO to conduct a new inquiry into COVID’s origins.

The scientists calling for a new probe said in an open letter Thursday that the WHO team “did not have the mandate, the independence, or the necessary accesses to carry out a full and unrestricted investigation.”

The scientists also noted in their letter that the WHO investigators in China were joined by their Chinese counterparts.

A report in The Guardian says hospitals in Papua New Guinea have run out of money and are “shutting their doors” because of an uptick in COVID-19 cases. The country had registered 124 new coronavirus cases in all of February but had 108 new infections by March 4.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a public warning Thursday about thermal imaging devices or scanners used by many businesses to measure elevated temperature, a COVID symptom.

The FDA alert said, “improper use of the systems may provide inaccurate temperature readings due to a variety of factors.” The agency also said it has sent “several Warning Letters” to companies that are “offering unapproved, uncleared, and unauthorized thermal imaging systems for sale.

Auckland, New Zealand, is set to ease its seven-day lockdown on Sunday, moving from alert level three to alert level two because no new community coronavirus cases were recorded Friday. The rest of the country is scheduled to move to alert level one Sunday.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center said early Friday there are more than 115 million global COVID cases. The U.S. remains at the top of the list with almost 29 million infections, followed by India with 11 million and Brazil with 10.7 million.