WHO Team Investigating COVID Origins denied Entry to China

A World Health Organization (WHO) team due to investigate the origins of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in Wuhan city has been denied entry to China. The WHO said the problem was a lack of visa clearances. The long-awaited probe was agreed upon by Beijing in December after many months of negotiations with the WHO. 

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was “very disappointed” that China had not yet finalized the permissions for the team’s arrivals “given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute”.

“I have been assured that China is speeding up the internal procedure for the earliest possible deployment,” he told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday, explaining that he had been in contact with senior Chinese officials to stress “that the mission is a priority for WHO and the international team”.

The WHO has been working to send a 10-member team of international experts to China for months with the aim of probing the animal origin of the pandemic and exactly how the virus first crossed over to humans. Last month it was announced that the investigation would begin in January 2021.