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China Says WHO COVID Expert Panel to Arrive Jan. 14 | News on the coronavirus pandemic

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The team will investigate the origins of the coronavirus, which first appeared in Wuhan at the end of 2019.

A team of international experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic will arrive in China on January 14, the country’s national health authority said on Monday.

The team had originally planned to visit China in early January, but WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week their arrival was delayed because Beijing had not allowed their entry.

The National Health Commission, which announced the date in an official statement, did not specify the team’s route.

The pandemic first appeared in central China’s Wuhan city in late 2019, with initial cases linked to the now closed Huanan seafood market. The city recorded its first official death of the then unnamed disease a year ago – a 61-year-old man with links to the market.

Building on research conducted over the past year, the 10 international experts are expected perform in-depth “epidemiological, virological and serological assessments” of people and animals while traveling under the joint jurisdiction of WHO and the Chinese government.

The team is expected to travel to central China to study how and where COVID-19 could have appeared.

“The current COVID-19 pandemic shows the devastating impact that emerging zoonotic diseases can have on societies,” the study’s terms of reference read. “As the pandemic continues to unfold, understanding how the outbreak began is critical to preventing further introductions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and helping prevent the introduction of new viruses in the future.

More than 90 million people have been diagnosed with the virus in the past year and many countries are now struggling with increasing outbreaks. Nearly two million people have died.


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