World Health Organization team visit Wuhan Center for Disease Control

World Health Organization team visit Wuhan Center for Disease Control

The emergence of the new variants has further complicated the fight against the coronavirus, which first emerged in late 2019 in Wuhan before unleashing death and economic devastation around the world.

Team member Peter Daszak told reporters later they had "excellent facilities, very informative meeting", and he tweeted the team met with staff in charge of the health of livestock in Hubei province, toured laboratories and had an "in-depth" discussion along with questions and answers.

On December 31, 2019, after four cases of mystery pneumonia were linked to the market, it was shuttered overnight. Scientists initially suspected the virus came from wild animals sold in the market.

A World Health Organisation team visited the Huanan food market in Wuhan as part of its fieldwork in a politically sensitive mission to investigate the origins of the pandemic.

Peter Ben Embarek, the WHO's top expert on "zoonotic" diseases that originate in animals, was among the team members clad in white suits of personal protective equipment spotted within the centre's premises. They have visited hospitals that treated numerous earliest patients and a seafood market where cases of infection with the then-unknown virus emerged in December 2019.

Trump had asked China to permit an inquiry amid emphatic denials from Beijing. They were expected to be in Wuhan for about a month.

After leaving the fourteen-day quarantine, the team members visited the "Jinitan" hospital in Wuhan, the first institution that received patients suffering from, at that time, the mysterious virus.

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Earlier in the day, the team members were also seen walking through sections of the Baishazhou market - one of the largest wet markets in Wuhan - surrounded by a large entourage of Chinese officials and representatives.

They also visited an exhibition showing what Chinese authorities call a successful containment effort of the virus under the leadership of the Communist Party.

Although the World Health Organization sent a small group of experts to China for a preliminary probe in July previous year, they did not visit the market or the laboratory in the city at that time. The worldwide experts also had in-depth exchanges with local peers on early case samples and study data as reported by Chinese state media.

The WHO experts' field work itinerary and plan for exchanges are crucial to serious, prudent scientific studies.

Since officials and journalists are neither scientists nor specialists after all, we need to entrust the experts with the very professional task of origin-tracing, give them enough time, space, trust and support to advance cooperation, and minimise unnecessary attention and disturbance, Zhao said. According to reports, two people also died in China due to Coronavirus infection in January.

"The more detail you have on the ground, the more questions you have", she said. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts.

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