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WHO team arrives in Wuhan to investigate the origin of the pandemic



Wuhan, China (Associated Press)-A team of global researchers arrived in a Chinese city on Thursday, where the country was first detected as a coronavirus pandemic and has conducted a politically sensitive investigation into its origin because it is uncertain whether Beijing will try to prevent embarrassment Discovery.

After months of diplomatic disputes, the President of the World Health Organization dispatched a 10-member team from the World Health Organization to Wuhan, which was approved by President Xi Jinping’s government.

Scientists suspect that the virus that has killed 1

.9 million people since the end of 2019 jumped from bats or other animals to humans. This is likely to be in southwest China. The ruling Communist Party was upset by complaining about the spread of the disease, saying that the virus came from abroad, possibly from imported seafood, but scientists opposed this.

The English channel CGTN of China Central Television (CCTV) reported the arrival of the WHO team. Members include virus and other experts from the United States, Australia, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Russia, the Netherlands, Qatar and Vietnam.

A government spokesperson said this week that they would “exchange views” with Chinese scientists, but did not indicate whether they would be allowed to collect evidence.

According to a post on CGTN’s official Weibo, they will undergo a two-week quarantine, as well as a throat swab test and a COVID-19 antibody test. They will start working with Chinese experts through video conferences during the quarantine.

After the Trump administration accused Beijing of spreading the virus, China rejected a request for an international investigation, which plunged the global economy into its worst recession since the 1930s.

After Australia requested an independent investigation in April, Beijing took retaliatory measures and banned the import of Australian beef, wine and other commodities.

Peter Daszak, a zoologist at the EcoHealth Alliance, an American organization, told the Associated Press in November that one possibility is that wild animal poachers may have passed the virus to The businessman who carried the virus to Wuhan.

A visit by a scientist is unlikely to confirm the origin of the virus. Fixing an epidemic animal bank is usually a detailed work that requires years of research, including collection of animal samples, genetic analysis and epidemiological research.

“The government should be very transparent and cooperative,” said Shin-Ru Shih, director of the Center for Emerging Virus Infection Research at Chang Gung University, Taiwan.

The Chinese government is trying to cause confusion about the origin of the virus. It promoted the development of the theory. There is no evidence that the outbreak may have started with the import of contaminated seafood. This view was rejected by international scientists and institutions.

National Health Commission official Mi Feng said on Wednesday: “WHO will need to conduct similar investigations elsewhere.”

Some WHO teams had traveled to China a week ago, but had to look back after Beijing announced that they had not received valid visas.

Adam Kamradt-Scott, a health expert at the University of Sydney, said that this might have been a “bureaucratic gle head”, but the incident “raised the question of whether the Chinese authorities were intervening. “

The Wuhan Institute of Virology, the city where the outbreak began, may be the focus of investigators’ attention. It is one of the top virus research laboratories in China. After the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003, it established a file of genetic information about bat coronavirus.

According to the agenda announced by the World Health Organization In terms of its origin research, there are no plans to assess whether the Wuhan laboratory might accidentally release the coronavirus, as some American politicians including President Donald Trump have claimed.

Mark Woolhouse, an epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh, said that a “scientific review” of the institute’s records and security measures would be a “routine activity”. He said it depends on how the Chinese authorities are willing to share information.

Woolhouse said: “There is a lot of trust here.”

Associated Press Investigation It was discovered that the government had taken control measures against the outbreak’s research and prohibited scientists from talking to reporters.

Woolhouse said the exact source of the coronavirus may never be traced because the virus changes quickly.

Although it may be challenging to find the COVID-19 virus identical to humans in animals, the discovery of closely related viruses may help explain how the disease jumped from animals in the first place and clarify what precautions need to be taken to avoid the future Epidemic.

Woolhouse said that scientists should focus on getting a “full understanding” of the virus to help deal with future outbreaks.

Shih said, “This is not the time to blame anyone.” “We shouldn’t say that this is your fault.”

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Wu reports from Taipei, Taiwan.


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