WHO team to start quarantine meetings in China

The team of 15 tested all negative for the disease before leaving their country.

Wuhan, China:

A World Health Organization-led team investigating the origin of COVID-19 is to begin virtual meetings with its Chinese hosts from a hotel in Wuhan, China, where the epidemic first surfaced on Friday.

His arrival in the city of central China on Thursday was interrupted by the absence of two members who failed a coronovirus antibody test in Singapore. According to China’s Foreign Ministry, one of the missing members has passed an examination and arrangements are being made for their visit to China.

“The team is now undergoing a mandatory 14 days of quarantine and is being treated very well by our hosts. Starts from day 1 at the teleconf. Mtgs w / China team,” team member Peter Daszak, a creature The scientist tweeted.

The driveway and parking lot of the boutique hotel where the team was staying were sealed with tape on Friday and security personnel stood at the entrance.

The team’s arrival in Wuhan comes as China is wary of a resurgence of COVID-19 infection in its northeast.

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.

Dominic Dwyer, an Australian virologist on the team, said that he and other scientists were trying to put politics aside.

“There is always politics with this kind of scenario but one of the things that COVID-19 has shown us is that if you have good science, you inform politics,” he said.

“You want to fill the scientific vacuum with answers so that people can make more informed and, therefore, possibly more sensible decisions.”

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Dwyer said the itinerary was still to be sorted out for the rest of the trip, but he hoped to visit research institutes, hospitals and markets where the first human cases of the disease were detected in late 2019.

“Seeing how they (the market) physically work helps to have an understanding as someone has tried to figure out how the virus can get into the market from outside … and within the market. , Or spread to parts of the market, and then spread to the community, ”he said.

The team is not allowed to mingle in quarantine, so virtually all meetings will be held.

“It’s been in the room for two weeks,” Dwyer said. “The rooms are of a good size and have given everyone exercise equipment and food,” he said, adding some weights, a skipping rope and a yoga mat.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a news briefing in Beijing on Friday that one of the two missing members of the team, a UK citizen, would be allowed to travel to China after testing negative in an antibody test. Other members, who are Sudanese, are still testing positive for antibodies, he said.

“We will keep in touch with the WHO on these matters,” Zhao said.

The team of 15 tested all negative for the disease before leaving their home countries, and underwent further testing during the transition to Singapore.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)

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