Wu-Tang Clan or Wuhan? T-shirt Ignites New China-Canada Tiff

Wu-Tang Clan or Wuhan? T-shirt Ignites New China-Canada Tiff

World Health Organization investigators on Wednesday visited a research center in the Chinese city of Wuhan that has been the subject of speculation about the origins of the coronavirus, with one member saying they'd meant to meet key staff and press them on critical issues.

Peter Daszak, a zoologist and animal disease expert, said the team in Wuhan had been receiving new information about how the virus, first identified in the city in late 2019, led to a pandemic.

But questions remain over what the experts can hope to find after so much time has passed.

"I am looking forward to a very productive day, meeting the key people here and asking all the important questions that need to be asked", team member Peter Daszak, who is the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, said from his auto as it drove in.

"Extremely important meeting today with staff at WIV including Dr Shi Zhengli".

But there are no definitive answers so far.

The WHO team's visit to the Wuhan Institute of Virology was a highlight of their mission to gather data and search for clues as to where the virus originated and how it spread.

The team left after around three hours without speaking to waiting journalists.

COVID-19 probe: WHO team visits China virus lab in Wuhan

Speculation emerged early in the pandemic that the virus could have accidentally leaked from the lab in Wuhan, although there was no evidence to back up that theory.

She has published widely in academic journals and worked to debunk theories espoused by the former Trump administration and other American officials that the virus is either a bioweapon or a "lab leak" from the institute.

The previous United States administration of President Donald Trump alleged that the coronavirus leaked from this Wuhan lab, citing its study of bat coronaviruses similar to the new coronavirus.

Beijing is now determined to put the focus on its recovery from the outbreak, and the World Health Organization team toured a propaganda exhibition celebrating China's recovery from the pandemic in Wuhan on Saturday.

China has faced criticism at home and overseas for playing down the initial outbreak and concealing information when it first emerged in Wuhan in December 2019.

The team has visited local hospitals where the first wave of COVID-19 patients was treated and a local market that was believed to be associated with the first cluster of infected patients.

"As a diplomat of the Canadian Embassy in China, the person involved has acted inconsistently with his or her status and deviated from the consistent position of the Canadian government", Wang said.

Ben Embarek said discussions at the lab were useful to understand the staff's position "in regards to many of these statements and claims that everyone has seen and read about in the news".

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