- WHO “Very Disappointed” As China Didn’t Grant Entry To Covid Experts
- 10-strong team were due to set off a long-awaited mission in early January in Wuhan
- China had earlier welcomed the team to investigate COVID-19 but has now taken a U-turn
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), on Tuesday, said that he was “very disappointed” that China has still not authorised the entry of the team of international experts which are tasked with the examination of origins of the novel Coronavirus.
The 10-strong team had been due to enter China in early January as the part of a long-awaited mission aimed at the investigation of the early cases of COVID-19 which were first reported in Wuhan, China, more than a year ago.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Director-General of World Health Organisation said, “Today we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalised the necessary permissions for the team’s arrival in China,” during an online news conference in Geneva.
Of the trip which was developed in agreement with Beijing, he said, “I have been in contact with senior Chinese officials and I have once again made it clear the mission is a priority for the WHO”.
The mission which is due was supposed to be led by Peter Ben Embarek, who is the top expert on animal diseases which crosses the species barriers, at WHO and had already visited China on a preliminary mission last July.
Two members from the international team were already set out on their journey to China. One of them has now been turned back and the other is in transit in a third country, said the Emergencies Chief Mike Ryan.
However, he also said that “We trust and hope that is just a logistic and bureaucratic issue that can be resolved very quickly.”
Ahead of the trip, the Chinese Government was seeking to shape the narrative about when and where the global pandemic started, with the senior diplomat of Beijing, Wang Yi saying, “more and more studies” showed that it emerged in multiple regions.
Ryan has previously called this “highly speculative”.
China has rubbished the criticism it received of it handling the early cases badly which surfaced in late 2019, although some which include the likes of the President of the U.S. President Donald Trump has questioned Beijing’s actions during the outbreak.
The United States of America had already announced its plans of leaving the World Health Organisation and now has called for a “transparent” probe into the origin of COVID-19 while also criticising its terms under which the Chinese experts conducted the initial phase of research.