The World Health Organization (WHO) said that China has denied entry to the international experts’ team due to arrive in Wuhan to probe the origins of COVID-19. Two members were on their way to China when they were told that they did not have necessary clearances from China to enter the country. However, China today said that details of the visit, including dates, were still being finalized.
The long-awaited probe by a 10 members expert team was agreed upon by Beijing after many months of negotiations with the WHO, which was expected to begin investigations in January 2021.
AIR Correspondent reports, World Health Organization Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has expressed disappointment over China not yet granting permission to international experts to enter the country to probe the origins of COVID-19. Dr. Tedros said, the members of the international scientific team on COVID-19 had already begun their journey, but Chinese officials have not yet given the necessary permissions.
He said, the mission is a priority for WHO and the global health body is eager to get the mission underway as soon as possible.
WHO Chief said, the experts’ visit was as per arrangements jointly developed between WHO, Chinese government, and countries for which the team was meant to travel through on their way to Wuhan. Beijing had previously said it would give the WHO’s team full access to investigate the origins of the Coronavirus. However, Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing said authorities and experts are still working to contain recent outbreaks in China and to advance the internal preparations for experts to come to china. It remains to be seen when the visit of the Independent panel of experts to Wuhan will be through.
The virus was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019, with the initial outbreak linked to a market. While China has dismissed criticism of its handling of early cases that emerged in late 2019, some leaders including US President Donald Trump have questioned Beijing’s actions during the outbreak. He has repeatedly called for the Chinese government to be held accountable for this virus. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also slammed the Chinese Communist Party for continuing to spread disinformation regarding COVID-19, and obstructing the WHO investigation.