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Coronavirus, Covid 19

WHO team arrives in Wuhan to search for pandemic origins

WHO team arrives in Wuhan to search for pandemic origins

2021-01-14 7:30:00 AM

WHO team arrives in Wuhan to search for pandemic origins

A global team of researchers arrived Thursday in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to conduct a politically sensitive investigation into its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries.

Scientists suspect the virus that has killed 1.9 million people since late 2019 jumped to humans from bats or other animals, most likely in China's southwest. The ruling Communist Party, stung by complaints it allowed the disease to spread, says the virus came from abroad, possibly on imported seafood, but scientists reject that.

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Newsletter sign-up: Get The COVID-19 Brief sent to your inboxCGTN, the English-language channel of state broadcaster CCTV, reported the WHO team's arrival. The members include virus and other experts from the United States, Australia, Germany, Japan, Britain, Russia, the Netherlands, Qatar and Vietnam.

A government spokesman said this week they will "exchange views" with Chinese scientists but gave no indication whether they would be allowed to gather evidence.They will undergo a two-week quarantine as well as a throat swab test and an antibody test for COVID-19, according to a post on CGTN's official Weibo account. They are to start working with Chinese experts via video conference while in quarantine.

China rejected demands for an international investigation after the Trump administration blamed Beijing for the virus's spread, which plunged the global economy into its deepest slump since the 1930s.After Australia called in April for an independent inquiry, Beijing retaliated by blocking imports of Australian beef, wine and other goods.

One possibility is that a wildlife poacher might have passed the virus to traders who carried it to Wuhan, one of the WHO team members, zoologist Peter Daszak of the U.S. group EcoHealth Alliance, told the Associated Press in November.A single visit by scientists is unlikely to confirm the virus's origins; pinning down an outbreak's animal reservoir is typically an exhaustive endeavour that takes years of research including taking animal samples, genetic analysis and epidemiological studies.

"The government should be very transparent and collaborative," said Shin-Ru Shih, director at the Research Center for Emerging Viral Infections at Taiwan's Chang Gung University.The Chinese government has tried to stir confusion about the virus's origin. It has promoted theories, with little evidence, that the outbreak might have started with imports of tainted seafood, a notion rejected by international scientists and agencies.

"The WHO will need to conduct similar investigations in other places," an official of the National Health Commission, Mi Feng, said Wednesday.Some of the WHO team were en route to China a week ago but had to turn back after Beijing announced they hadn't received valid visas.

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That might have been a "bureaucratic bungle," but the incident "raises the question if the Chinese authorities were trying to interfere," said Adam Kamradt-Scott, a health expert at the University of Sydney.A possible focus for investigators is the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the city where the outbreak began. One of China's top virus research labs, it built an archive of genetic information about bat coronaviruses after the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

According to WHO's published agenda for its origins research, there are no plans to assess whether there might have been an accidental release of the coronavirus at the Wuhan lab, as some American politicians, including President Donald Trump, have claimed.

A "scientific audit" of Institute records and safety measures would be a "routine activity," said Mark Woolhouse, an epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh. He said that depends on how willing Chinese authorities are to share information.

"There's a big element of trust here," Woolhouse said.An AP investigation found the government imposed controls on research into the outbreak and bars scientists from speaking to reporters.The coronavirus's exact origin may never be traced because viruses change quickly, said Woolhouse.

Although it may be challenging to find precisely the same COVID-19 virus in animals as in humans, discovering closely related viruses might help explain how the disease first jumped from animals and clarify what preventive measures are needed to avoid future epidemics.

Scientists should focus instead on making a "comprehensive picture" of the virus to help respond to future outbreaks, Woolhouse said."Now is not the time to blame anyone," Shih said. "We shouldn't say, it's your fault."

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Should’ve done that a year ago 'Hello sirs, follow me right down this hole, yep, the whole way down' Well we can only guess the CCP will be completely open and transparent Ah yeah about a year late china 😂 Better late than never! We already know what happened: The virus was brought to the lab from mother nature. In the lab the virus was abused and taught how to jump. It jumped out of the window and survived by falling on a innocent bystander that carried the virus to Wuhan town.

A little too late, no? And like if China was going to collaborate and be transparent about the disaster they unleashed After over a year? What do they think they'll find out? Knowing how Chinese gov't can cover, omit, hide truth and damning data...does WHO really think they will get an honest result? It only shows how weak WHO is, don't have any teeth nor power to go after China...😏😏😏

One year later... CSI is not impressed. Might want to skip the tour and head to the lab 🥼 A Year and a few months China didn't want anybody investigating this so they refused entry so they had enough time to get rid of all the evidence. Good job China can't wait for your next virus. Hmmm check the lab ....just saying

It came from CHINA Oh this otta be good.......WHO ya going to believe Honestly what took so long? It’s like investigating a crime scene a year after thousands of people have trampled through it. A year later? Make sure you go to Spain and Italy, as well a little late no? Why did they wait a year?!?! A bit pointless isn’t it

What's the point a year after. Did anyone bother to read the article? WHO spent several months trying to get permission but Chinese President wasn’t having it. .... lirrkec late kids A year too late! Lol, if they find something criminal you’re never gonna hear about it or see this team ever again. Who's waiting on a tweet saying the team is missing

I think the virus was synthesized by a collective of universities and top level labs .... I would also look at places like Zhenjiang ,as it was the second biggest cluster in China 🇨🇳 Sure glad they got there so quickly 😳 It’s obvious why wait till now. little late now I personally think it got around by street drugs ..... as the number one contagion

Ha! Like you're going to find anything... Quick question: why now? Why wasn't this done as soon as news broke and a pandemic was declared last year? Never mind we all know the answers. A Fucking year later. What the fuck are they getting paid for? To be stupid? Ummmm a year too late & China has swabbed it clean! Why bother as Chi na will never tell the truth!

A little late, no? How the f are they just doing this now? Why are we trusting the WHO to conduct the investigation? We've already all established they are infiltrated by the CCP and not to be trusted..... Just, wtf. Basically a whitewash. Dey ded now. The 2 guys walking in, thinking ..”F this shit” Next Oscar nominee for best comedy.

Does the ccp have an escort saying look here only? January 13, 20 twenty-ONE! Should look in that lab in Winnipeg Wow, just like putting a bandage on a cut a year after getting it. Kind of pointless now isn't it? And that's the last we ever saw of those investigators. Haha! 1 year later looking for origins 😂🤣 this is what incompetence looks like

When fake news is joke news A year too late. Trump was right!! investigating a virus from over a year ago. How inept is the WHO team. Bought by governments to spin their stories.... Ask fauci This again demonstrates to the world that China has high transparency. The cooperation between Chinese scientists and WHO experts will ensure the success of this joint research project.

Well this sounds really trustworthy!! 😷 Joke of the year so far kinda late no? All evidence & witnesses gone Most of the BJP leaders don’t even know wht these farm bills r,& what negative effects these bills can bring in long term These bills r made by corporates,& it’s main motive is to benefit Ambani & Adani,That’s y Rajya Sabha had passed them undemocratically KisanoKiMaanoDushant

Good now that China is covered everything up the reports already prepared by the China government. sure.... 'break a leg' 👏 they gonna make a movie out of it or what We might finally get some real answers It only took them 15+ months. Enough time to scrub all the EVIDENCE I thought the WHO was China? Yo - is this tweet a year old? What's going on?

Sham. 😒😒😒