THURSDAY, Jan. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — After a long wait for approval from the Chinese government, a World Health Organization team of experts arrived in the city of Wuhan on Thursday to try to pinpoint the origins of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The first known cases of the new coronavirus appeared in the city more than a year ago. Scientists say it could take months or years to identify the source of the coronavirus, or it may never be known, CBS News reported. The Chinese government has long been attempting to push the blame for the pandemic onto other countries, promoting theories that the novel coronavirus may have emerged elsewhere.
According to CBS News, the WHO team includes 13 experts from 10 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, and Vietnam. When they arrived in Wuhan, they were taken to quarantine accommodations, where they will remain for at least the next two weeks, current standard procedure for anyone traveling into China from abroad.
The team will start work immediately to determine how Wuhan became the world’s first COVID-19 epicenter, the WHO said. That includes interviewing people at area hospitals and from the Southwest China Wholesale Seafood Market suspected of being where the virus jumped from animals into humans, CBS News reported.
China will “support and offer convenience for the WHO experts’ joint international investigation” in the country, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters. “Chinese scientists and medical experts will engage in deep communications” with the team via video conferencing, he added.
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