WHO team arrives in Wuhan to investigate the origins of the epidemic

WUHAN, China – A global team of researchers arrived in the Chinese city on Thursday, where coronoviruses were first traced to a politically sensitive investigation about its origins amid uncertainty over whether Beijing tried to stop the embarrassing discoveries Can do.

The 10-member team sent to Wuhan by the World Health Organization (WHO) was approved by President Xi Jinping’s government after months of diplomatic conflict.

Scientists suspect the virus that has killed more than 1.9 million people by the end of 2019, jumped from bats or other animals to humans, most likely in the southwest of China. The ruling Communist Party allows the disease to spread, based on complaints that the virus came from abroad, presumably on imported seafood, but scientists reject it.

A bus carrying members of the World Health Organization team departs from the airport on Thursday after its arrival at an airport in Wuhan, in a cordless section in the International Arrivals Zone. Nicholas Asafouri / AFP – Getty Images

The team arrived at Wuhan Airport at 11 am and drove through a clear plastic tunnel in the airport. The researchers, who wore only face masks, were greeted by airport staff in full protective gear.

Team members include viruses and other experts from the United States, Australia, Germany, Japan, Britain, Russia, the Netherlands, Qatar and Vietnam.

Some of the WHO team were sent to China a week ago, but Beijing announced that they had not received a valid visa.

Adam Kamrad-Scott, a health expert at the University of Sydney, said “the incident could be a” bureaucratic jungle “if Chinese authorities were trying to intervene, but this raises questions.

The WHO tweeted on Thursday that two members of its team had not yet entered China, awaiting the results of their Kovid-19 tests.

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A government spokesperson said that this week they would “exchange ideas” with Chinese scientists but gave no indication as to whether they would be allowed to gather evidence.

According to state broadcaster CCTV’s English-language CGTN, they will undergo a two-week quarantine as well as a throat swab test and an antibody test for Kovid-19. They are beginning to work with Chinese experts through video conferences while in quarantine.

After the Trump administration blamed Beijing for the spread of the virus, China rejected calls for an international investigation, which plunged the global economy into the deepest recession since the 1930s.

One possibility for the genesis of the pandemic is that a wildlife hunter may have given the virus to traders who took it to Wuhan, one of the members of the WHO team, Zoologist Peter Daszak of the US group Ecolitics Alliance, Associated Press Told in November.

Another possible focus of investigators is the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the city, from where its outbreak began. One of China’s top virus research laboratories, it created a collection of genetic information about bat coronavir after the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2003.

According to the WHO’s published agenda for its original research, there are no plans to assess whether Wuhan Lab may have an accidental release of coronovirus, as claimed by some US politicians, including President Donald Trump.

A “scientific audit” of the institution’s records and safeguards would be a routine activity, said Mark Woolhouse, an epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh. He said it depends on how willing the Chinese authorities are to share information.

“There’s a big element of trust here,” Woolhouse said.

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