WHO staff arrives in Wuhan. Here’s what the probe into COVID-19’s origins entails


The WHO staff of worldwide researchers that arrived within the central Chinese metropolis of Wuhan on Thursday hopes to seek out clues to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The go to has been shrouded in secrecy, with neither China nor the WHO revealing precisely what the staff will do or the place it would go. The seek for the origins is prone to be a years-long effort that might assist forestall future pandemics.

Why Wuhan?

The industrial and transportation hub on the Yangtze River is the primary place the coronavirus surfaced on the planet. It’s doable that the virus got here to Wuhan undetected from elsewhere, however the metropolis of 11 million is a logical place for the mission to start out.

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Wuhan scientists interviewed over coronavirus origins, WHO says

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People started falling sick in December 2019, many with hyperlinks to a sprawling meals market that dealt in dwell animals. The rising variety of sufferers triggered alarms that prompted China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention to ship a staff to research.

The illness would ravage Wuhan earlier than it was introduced beneath management in March. The metropolis was locked down on Jan. 23 with little or no warning. The hardships endured and lives misplaced grew to become a supply of each sorrow and delight for residents as soon as the 76-day lockdown was lifted on April 8.

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Coronavirus: WHO boss says China hasn’t organized crucial permissions for members to review origins of virus – Jan 5, 2021

What is the staff’s agenda?

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First they need to quarantine for 14 days, throughout which they are going to work with Chinese counterparts through video convention. Possible visits after quarantine are the Huanan Seafood Market, the positioning of the December 2019 cluster of instances, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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Scientists initially suspected the virus got here from wild animals bought out there. The market has since been largely dominated out however it may present hints to how the virus unfold so extensively. Samples from the market should be accessible, together with the testimony of these concerned within the early response.

Read extra:
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The Wuhan Institute of Virology maintains an in depth archive of genetic sequences of bat coronaviruses constructed within the wake of the 2003 SARS pandemic, which unfold from China to many international locations. WHO staff members would hope for entry to lab logbooks and knowledge, each junior and senior researchers and security protocols for pattern assortment, storage and evaluation.

Why the secrecy?

China has firmly rejected requires an unbiased outdoors investigation. The head of the WHO not too long ago expressed impatience with how lengthy China took to make crucial preparations for the knowledgeable staff’s go to.

The ruling Communist Party retains a good maintain on data and is especially involved about doable revelations about its dealing with of the virus that might open it as much as worldwide criticism and monetary calls for.

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Coronavirus: WHO says second 12 months of pandemic ‘might be harder’

Coronavirus: WHO says second 12 months of pandemic ‘might be harder’

China stifled unbiased reviews concerning the outbreak and has printed little data on its seek for the origins of the virus. An AP investigation discovered that the federal government has strictly managed all scientific analysis associated to the outbreak and forbids researchers from chatting with the press.

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State media proceed to play up reviews that counsel the virus may have originated elsewhere. In saying the consultants’ go to, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian mentioned “the tracing of the virus origin will most certainly contain a number of international locations and localities.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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