World Health Organization team visits Wuhan market where coronavirus spotted in early stage

World Health Organization team visits Wuhan market where coronavirus spotted in early stage”

Since January 29, World Health Organization experts and their Chinese colleagues have gone on field trips to Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, the Wuhan Baishazhou market and the Huanan seafood market.

On 31 December 2019, after four cases of a mystery pneumonia were linked to the market, it was shuttered overnight.

Speaking after a visit to a hospital where some of the first coronavirus patients were treated more than a year ago, Dr Daszak said the team looks set to gain "access to all the places we want to visit" and conversations with Chinese scientists and doctors have not been censored or "vetted".

During their stay in Wuhan possibly through early February, the experts are also planning to examine a research laboratory in the city, amid claims by some that the virus which causes the COVID-19 disease was accidentally released from there.

Trump had asked China to permit an inquiry amid emphatic denials from Beijing. They were expected to be in Wuhan for about a month.

File photo: People walk along a pedestrian street in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province on January 23, 2021, one year after the city went into lockdown to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

One of the members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic waves while leaving The Jade Hotel after completing quarantine in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province on January 28, 2021.

Earlier in the day, the team members were also seen walking through sections of the Baishazhou market - one of the largest wet markets in Wuhan - surrounded by a large entourage of Chinese officials and representatives.

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They also listed the Wuhan Institute of Virology and laboratories at facilities including the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control as places they meant to visit.

World Health Organization said earlier on Twitter that the team requested "detailed underlying data" and planned to speak with early responders and some of the first COVID-19 patients. The visit was part of an inspection that began on Friday with the aim of identifying the origins of the pandemic.

The WHO experts began their investigative work in China last week. The two sides will follow the prior consensus and make science-based arrangements in light of the features of the virus and the epidemic situation, he said.

Experts say it's unlikely the new coronavirus emerged from the lab in Wuhan and overwhelmingly say analysis of the new coronavirus's genome rules out the possibility that it was engineered by humans.

Since officials and journalists are neither scientists nor specialists after all, we need to entrust the experts with the very professional task of origin-tracing, give them enough time, space, trust and support to advance cooperation, and minimise unnecessary attention and disturbance, Zhao said.

According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, there are 102,663,887 COVID-19 cases worldwide with 2,221,737 deaths.

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

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