China reneges on deal to receive WHO team to investigate raging coronavirus’ origin

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. (Photo courtesy: Time/AP)

(, Jan06’21) – After agreeing to allow a long-delayed probe, China has stopped a team of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) from entering Wuhan city by denying them entry visas. Two members had already set out on their journey, with one having now turned back and the other being in transit in a third country. Others of the 10-member international scientific team had to cancel their travel at the last minute.

The Jan 5 cited WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as saying Jan 5 that he was “very disappointed” that China had not authorized the entry of the team after having agreed it earlier.

Tedros has said plans for the trip had been arranged jointly among WHO officials, the Chinese government and the countries for which the team was meant to travel through on their way to Wuhan. He has said the agency just learned Jan 5 “that Chinese officials have not yet finalized the necessary permissions for the team’s arrival in China.”

“I have once again made it clear that the mission is a priority for WHO and the international team. I have been assured that China is speeding up the internal procedures for the earliest possible deployment. We are eager to get the mission under way as soon as possible,” Tedros was quoted as saying.

The WHO has said the problem was a lack of visa clearances. However, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has told reporters Jan 6 that it is “not just a visa issue,” reported Jun 6.

Hua has said talks were continuing over “the specific date and specific arrangement of the expert group’s visit.”

China has kept denying that Wuhan city where the outbreak of the novel coronavirus took place in late 2019 was the source of the global pandemic, insisting that it was only the place where it was first detected.

But then it has effectively banned all domestic research on the origin of the virus. It has spit venom on those who suggest that Wuhan was the source. And it launched massive trade sanctions on Australia for suggesting an international investigation of the origin of the virus. It also made various outlandish claims about a number of other countries on separate occasions as being the origin of the virus.

It is widely assumed that the virus originally came from bats, but the intermediate animal host that transmitted it between bats and humans remains unknown.

There have also been suggestions that the virus may have escaped from a research laboratory in Wuhan.


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