Beijing denies blocking entry to WHO Covid-19 investigators

Beijing, Jan 6 (efe-epa).- China has denied preventing a group of experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) from entering the country to investigate the origins of the world’s first coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he was “very disappointed” that Chinese authorities had prevented some WHO investigators from entering the country, purportedly due to visa issues.

“I have been assured that China is speeding up the internal procedure for the earliest possible deployment,” he told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday.

Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Wednesday that China was in contact with the WHO to allow its experts in.

“It’s not just a visa issue. Both sides are in close communication on the specific dates and arrangements for the WHO mission’s visit to China,” Hua told a press conference in Beijing.

“We understand the concerns of the WHO and that the quest for the origins of Covid-19 is very complicated,” she said.

“To make sure the team has a smooth visit, we need to make the relevant arrangements,” she said. “We certainly hope we can confirm the details as soon as possible and push forward our cooperation.”

The Director-General says that Beijing assured him it is “speeding up the internal procedures for the earliest possible deployment.”

“We are eager to get the mission underway as soon as possible,” Ghebreyesus said.

The mission is made up of scientists from the United States, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Vietnam, Germany and Qatar.

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