Origins of coronavirus: WHO team set to bare details of Wuhan findings

Reuters

Posted at Feb 09 2021 01:27 PM

Origins of coronavirus: WHO team set to bare details of Wuhan findings 1
Experts from China and the World Health Organization (WHO) joint team wearing face masks visit Wuhan Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, in Hubei province, China, Feb. 23, 2020. China Daily/Reuters/File

WUHAN — Members of a World Health Organization-led team looking for clues about the origins of COVID-19 will hold a briefing on Tuesday after nearly a month of meetings and site visits in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the disease was first identified.

The briefing was scheduled for 3:30 pm local time (0730 GMT) on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Chinese foreign ministry. The WHO had earlier said it would be at 4 p.m.

The WHO said it would also include experts from the Chinese side who have been involved in the investigation.

The team arrived in Wuhan on Jan. 14 and after two weeks of quarantine, visited key sites like the Huanan seafood market, the location of the first known cluster of infections, as well as the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been involved in coronavirus research.

Members of the team have sought to rein in expectations about the mission, with zoologist Peter Daszak telling Reuters last week that one of their aims was to "identify the next steps to fill in the gaps.

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Another team member, infectious disease expert Dominic Dwyer, said it would probably take years to fully understand the origins of COVID-19.

The United States said China needed to be more open when it comes to sharing data and samples as well as allowing access to patients, medical staff and lab workers. Beijing subsequently accused Washington of politicizing a scientific mission. 

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz, Writing by David Stanway; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)