China Agrees to Let WHO Team Visit Beijing to Trace COVID Origin

The announcement comes even as China faces backlash from several countries over the origin of the virus.

2 min read
Image of Chinese President Xi Jinping, used for representational purposes.

The Chinese government has agreed to let WHO send a team of experts to Beijing, to trace the origin of COVID-19, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday, 8 July, as quoted by ANI.

The announcement by the Chinese government comes as China faces backlash from several countries over the origin of the virus and claims of a delayed response on the government’s part before it became a global pandemic.

United States President Donald Trump has, on multiple occasions, slammed the Xi Jinping-led administration and has referred to the the virus as the ‘Chinese Virus’ and ‘Wuhan Virus’.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at WHO, told ANI last week in an exclusive interview that a ‘thorough investigation’ is required to know the source of the virus.

“What is needed now is a good investigation going back before December to find out where and how it jumped from animal to human. Was there any intermediate animal or not or it directly jumped from bat to humans which are also possible? Bats have been implicated in other viral diseases, Nipah for example. It is possible it came directly. It is also possible that there was an intermediate animal-like in the case of SARS. That thorough investigation still needs to be done,” Dr Soumya Swaminathan had told ANI.

After the government in China reported an outbreak of ‘typical pneumonia cases’ from Wuhan on 31 December, the WHO office in the country picked it up and ‘activated its international mechanisms’ the next day.

Earlier in January, Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had spoken on 29 January about an agreement with China to send a team ‘as soon as possible’ to better understand the disease and the outbreak.

(With inputs from ANI.)

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