WHO team to begin face-to-face meetings with China experts

WHO team to begin face-to-face meetings with China experts
Members of the World Health Organization team chat on a hotel room balcony in Wuhan. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: The experts from the World Health Organization are to begin face-to-face meetings with Chinese experts on Friday in the central city of Wuhan. This is the long-awaited fact-finding mission of the WHO team into the origins of Covid-19.

WHO said in Twitter that those meetings should be followed by the first field visits in and around the industrial and transport hub on Friday, but the global health body did not give further details about the team’s agenda.

It said the WHO team had already requested “detailed underlying data” and planned to speak with early responders and some of the first coronavirus patients.

WHO tweeted: “All hypotheses are on the table as the team follows the science in their work to understand the origins of the COVID19 virus.”

“As members start their field visits on Friday, they should receive the support, access and the data they need.”

The team members had spent the past two weeks in a required coronavirus quarantine, during which they had been communicating with Chinese officials by videoconferences to sort out the groundwork for field visits.

At their new hotel, some of the team members were seen waving from balconies, and people arriving aboard three buses went inside, possibly to join in the preliminary meeting between Chinese and WHO scientists.

WHO said late Thursday on Twitter that its team plans to visit hospitals, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, markets like the Huanan Seafood Market linked to many of the first cases, and laboratories at facilities like the Wuhan Center for Disease Control.

The mission has become politically charged, as Beijing seeks to avoid blame for alleged missteps in its early response to the outbreak.

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