WHO team reaches China’s Wuhan to trace coronavirus origins

at 11:31 am
WHO team
WHO's team of researchers has arrived in Wuhan, China

New Delhi (NVI): A global team of researchers led by the World Health Organization (WHO) have reached China’s Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus pandemic first surfaced in late 2019, to conduct an investigation into its origins.

The 10-member team will spend about a month in the city, including two weeks in quarantine.

The members include virus and other experts from the United States, Australia, Germany, Japan, Britain, Russia, the Netherlands, Qatar and Vietnam, CGTN reported.

Peter Ben Embarek, the WHO’s top expert on animal diseases that cross to other species, who went to China on a preliminary mission last July, is leading the 10 independent experts, a WHO spokesman said.

After completing quarantine, the team will spend two weeks interviewing people from research institutes, hospitals and the seafood market in Wuhan where the new pathogen is believed to have emerged, according to media reports.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had on Tuesday said that the team will fly from Singapore to Wuhan.

Scientists suspect the virus that has killed 1.9 million people since late 2019 jumped to humans from bats or other animals, most likely in China’s southwest.

Currently, China battles a resurgence of cases in its northeast after managing for months to nearly stamp out domestic infections.

Last week, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Gheybreyesus said he was “very disappointed” that China had still not authorised the team’s entry for the long-awaited mission, but on Monday, he welcomed its announcement of their planned arrival.

According to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker, so far, over 92,313,000 people have been confirmed with the disease across the world and more than 1,977,000 people have died.