WHO scientists in Wuhan to trace coronavirus origin

Beijing, Jan 14 (efe-epa).- A team of scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO) arrived in Wuhan on Thursday to probe the potential source of origin of the coronavirus in the central Chinese city where the virus was detected first last year.

Images broadcast by the state network CGTN showed the team landing at the city’s airport and received by officials dressed in white protective suits.

The team has to follow China’s epidemic control measures and will be quarantined for 14 days before conducting fieldwork, according to several official media.

CGTN said the WHO team underwent both throat swabs and serum antibody tests at the airport and will go through relevant quarantine procedures.

The WHO team consists of global researchers, including scientists from the United States, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Vietnam, Germany, and Qatar.

It is the third such visit since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic in China.

The visit to China triggered a controversy after WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Beijing’s alleged reluctance had disappointed him even as the Chinese authorities denied they were obstructing the investigation.

The WHO chief had been praising Beijing for its cooperation to battle the pandemic.

He was harshly criticized by the West for the praises with the US repeatedly blaming China for the global spread of the coronavirus.

The global researchers will try to trace the possible animal origin of the coronavirus and how it got transferred to humans.

First, it was speculated that the virus spread from a market of fresh products and animals in Wuhan.

However, the official Chinese press has been propagating an alternative narrative in recent months the virus may have originated from frozen food packets imported from other countries.

Official Xinhua news agency in an editorial published on Thursday said China, by hosting the WHO team, has demonstrated its “open and supportive position for a scientific and fact-based origin-tracing of the deadly virus.”

It also shows China’s “longstanding commitment to work with the international community to end the pandemic.”

WHO scientists already visited China for the probe in February and July last year but not much was revealed about their possible findings.

The probe has been largely shrouded in secrecy. EFE-EPA


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