China will allow experts to probe virus origin, WHO says
- 24 November 2020
China has given assurances that it will allow international experts into the country to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, APA reports citing BBC.
The WHO’s emergencies director, Dr Michael Ryan, said Chinese government officials had promised to facilitate a field trip to the country “as soon as possible”.
The first cases of the virus were detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.
China has rejected calls for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, arguing that such demands were politically motivated.
But China has been co-operating with the WHO, allowing it to send an advance team to Beijing in July to lay the groundwork for the international probe.
Since then it has remained unclear when a larger team of scientists would be sent to China to begin more detailed studies of the virus and its origins.
Dr Ryan said “we fully expect to have a team on the ground”, with phase one of the investigation expected “over the next couple of months”.
“Clearly, we all need to understand the origin of the virus,” Dr Ryan told a virtual media briefing on Monday. “We all need to understand where it has come from, not least to understand where it may re-emerge in the future. I believe our Chinese colleagues are just as anxious to find those answers as we are.”