The global body said that two members of the World Health Organization-led team arrived in Wuhan city of China on Thursday to investigate the origin of COVID-19, which lagged behind in Singapore after testing positive for coronovirus antibodies.
The team of 15 tested all negative for the disease before leaving their home countries, and underwent further testing during the transition to Singapore.
The Geneva-based agency said in a tweet that the results of the nucleic acid tests were negative but two members showed coronovirus antibodies.
“They are being retired for both IgM and IgG antibodies,” said the WHO.
This is the latest setback for a mission with delays as well as concerns over how much access the team will gain.
The rest of the team arrived in Wuhan on a budget airline from Singapore on Thursday morning and were expected to be in quarantine for two weeks.
“The epidemic prevention and control requirements and regulations will be strictly enforced,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a regular briefing on Thursday in response to a question about two members of the team.
The team is tasked with investigating the genesis of the novel coronavirus that triggered the global pandemic to arrive earlier this month. The delay in his visit to China drew rare public criticism of the head of the WHO.
The group left the airport terminal in Wuhan as a plastic quarantine tunnel “epidemic prevention route” for international arrivals and was guarded by half a dozen security staff in full safety gear. Coronavirus was initially linked to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan.
Team members did not speak to reporters, although some took media pictures of the bus and left it.
The US, which has accused China of hiding the extent of its initial outbreak a year earlier, has called for a “transparent” WHO-led investigation and criticized the terms of the visit, under which Chinese experts said the first phase Have done research.
The team arrived in China as a battle for the resurgence of coronovirus cases in the north-east after the country was virtually stamped out on domestic infections in recent months.
WHO spokesman said that Peter Ben Ambreck, WHO’s top expert on animal diseases, who crosses other species, went to China on an initial mission in July last year, leading the team going to Wuhan.
Hung Nguyen, a Vietnamese biologist, told Reuters during a halt in Singapore on Wednesday that he did not expect any restrictions on the group’s work in China, but the team did not give a clear answer.
After completing quarantine, the team will spend two weeks interviewing people at research institutes, hospitals, and the seafood market in Wuhan, where new pathogens are believed to have emerged, Hung added.
The group will mainly remain in Wuhan, he said.
Last week, WHO Director General Tedros Adnom Ghebius said he was “very disappointed” that China had still not authorized the team’s entry for the long-awaited mission, but on Monday, he announced his planned arrival welcomed.
“What we want to do with the international team and counterparts in China is to go back to the Wuhan environment, do in-depth interviews again in the initial cases, try to find other cases that were not detected at the time and try to see If we can reverse the history of earlier cases, ”Ben Ambrek said in November.
China has asserted a statement through state media that the virus was present overseas before it was discovered in Wuhan, citing the presence of the virus on imported frozen food packaging and claims in scientific papers that it Was roaming Europe in 2019.
WHO’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan told reporters this week, “We are here looking for answers that may save us in the future – not to blame and not to blame people.” “To find out how the virus emerged.
Another team member, Marion Kopamons, a virologist at the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, said very quickly last month that the SARS-COV-2 virus had jumped directly from bats into humans or was an intermediate animal host.
“At this stage what I think we need is a very open mind when trying to go back to the events that eventually led to this epidemic,” he told reporters.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)