WHO chief ‘disappointed’ with China over delaying entry to virus investigation team

at 11:02 am
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

New Delhi (NVI): The World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has expressed disappointment over China not finalising the permissions for the arrival of the team that was to investigate the origin of the coronavirus.

While addressing a media briefing, WHO’s Director-General said, “Today we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalised the necessary permissions for the team’s arrival in China. I am very disappointed with this news given that two members had already begun their journeys & others were not able to travel at the last minute.”

“But I’ve been in contact with senior Chinese officials & I have once again made clear that the mission is a priority for WHO & the international team,” Tedros added.

He further stated, “I’ve been assured that China is speeding up the internal procedure for the earliest possible deployment. We are eager to get the mission underway as soon as possible.”

The WHO Chief said that the official visit was as per arrangements jointly developed between WHO, the Chinese government, and countries for which the team was meant to travel through on their way to Wuhan.

Beijing had previously said it would give the WHO’s expert team full access to investigate the virus origin, according to media reports.

The WHO has for months been working to send a 10-person team of international experts, including epidemiologists and animal health specialists, to China to help probe the animal origin of the novel coronavirus pandemic and how the virus first crossed over to humans.

The mission was due to be led by Peter Ben Embarek, WHO’s top expert on animal diseases that cross the species barrier, who also went to China on a preliminary mission in July, 2020.

Reportedly, two members of the international team had already set out on their journey to China. One has now returned and the other is in transit in a third country.