An international team is planning to travel to China next year to investigate the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The mission was announced by Babatunde Olowokure, the regional emergencies director for the Western Pacific at the World Health Organization, on November 16.
- The team will arrive in early January;
- China will cooperate fully with the investigation;
- Scientists plan to visit the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus first surfaced at the end of 2019.
What Olowokure said: “The WHO continues to discuss [the situation with] China. Our understanding is that China is welcoming the international team and [it will] happen in early January.”
Reaction to the news: “It’s really not about finding a guilty country. It’s about trying to understand what happened and then see if, based on those data, we can try to reduce the risk in the future,” Fabian Leendertz, of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, told the BBC news network.
China Factor comment: The question of an independent investigation into the origins of Covid-19 has caused a major rift between WHO member nations. Many believe that Beijing initially covered up the scale of the outbreak which triggered the global pandemic.