WHO: Scientists to investigate origins of Covid-19 in Wuhan

Dec, 17th 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) says that a team of 10 international scientists will travel to Wuhan in China next month to investigate the origins of Covid-19. The virus is thought to have come from a market in the city, selling animals. Beijing has been reluctant to grant WHO room for the inquiry. 

In the early days of the pandemic, the virus was traced to a market in Wuhan Hubei province called wet market, where the virus was believed to have leapt from animals to humans. Experts however believe that the virus was amplified in the region.

From the WHO team, a biologist said that they are not seeking to put blame but rather prevent future outbreaks.

Fabian Leendertz of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute said, “It’s really not about finding a guilty country. It’s about trying to understand what happened and then see if, based on those data, we can try to reduce the risk in the future.”

WHO has been in negotiations with Beijing for many months as it has been reluctant to agree to an independent inquiry. However they have been granted access to the city.

According to Leendertz, the main aim was to find out when the virus began circulating and whether or not it originated in Wuhan. Research suggests that coronaviruses capable of infecting humans may have been circulating undetected in bats for decades.

In January, China’s tackling of the developing crisis was praised by the head of WHO’s health Emergencies Program Dr. Mike Ryan who said that the challenge is great but the response has been massive.

According to WHO, Beijing has helped slow down the spread of the virus by volunteering to share its knowledge of the virus’s genetic code.

The US among other countries has raised concerns on whether China was fully transparent when the virus first emerged. President Trump’s administration had accused China of trying to conceal the initial outbreak.

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