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International News

Jan 14, 2021
8:12PM

WHO team arrives in Wuhan, China to probe origins of COVID Pandemic

@WHO
Thirteen scientists from a 15-member international team led by the World Health Organization (WHO) arrived in Wuhan, China today to examine the origins of the novel Coronavirus that sparked COVID-19 Pandemic.
 
Two scientists are still in Singapore completing tests for COVID-19, after both tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

AIR Correspondent reports, WHO said that the experts will begin their work immediately during the 2 weeks quarantine protocol for international travelers. As per the reports, the team will spend two weeks in quarantine on arrival and two more weeks interviewing people from research institutes, hospitals and the seafood market in Wuhan where the new virus is believed to have emerged. The team would mainly stay in Wuhan. Also, there is no clarity yet whether they will be allowed any extension beyond this period, in case any such requirement arises during the course of investigation. 

Chinese foreign ministry said, relevant epidemic prevention control requirements will be strictly enforced, when asked about two scientists’ cases.

The team arrived as China battled a resurgence of cases in its northern provinces after it controlled domestic infections for months. China reported its biggest daily jump in new COVID-19 cases in the past many months as infections in northeastern Heilongjiang province nearly tripled, underscoring the growing threat ahead of the major national Lunar New Year holiday. 

China has been pushing a narrative via state media that the virus existed abroad before it was discovered in Wuhan, citing the presence of the virus on imported frozen food packaging and scientific papers claiming it had been in circulation in Europe in 2019.
 
The National Health Commission said in a statement that 138 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Jan. 13, up from 115 cases a day earlier and marking the highest jump since March. China also reported one new death, marking the first increase in the death toll since mid-May. Nine cities in four provinces Hebei, Heilongjiang, Zhejiang and Jilin are facing new COVID positive cases.

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