The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, revealed this Tuesday that the Chinese authorities have prevented for now the arrival of some experts of the mission that was going to investigate the origin of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, so he was “very disappointed” with Beijing.
“In the last 24 hours, several of the experts began their trip to China from their countries, but today we learned that the Chinese authorities did not finish the necessary permits for the arrival of the team, so I am very disappointed,” said Tedros. The director general added that the WHO is in contact with the authorities of the Asian country to “make it clear to them that the mission is a priority” and said that from China they have assured him that they will speed up the procedures to facilitate the start of the mission.
This mission, according to the WHO in November, is formed by scientists from the United States, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Vietnam, Germany and Qatar. The mission should travel, among other places, to the city of Wuhan (central China), where the first cases of covid were detected, and in principle its objective is to find the possible animal origin of the virus and through which channels it was transmitted to humans.
The organization of this mission has been delayed for months, and has been surrounded by secrecy, both from the Chinese authorities and from the WHO itself. A team of experts from the WHO already visited China last July and February to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, although on both occasions hardly any details were revealed.
China denied this Wednesday that it had prevented the entry of the group of experts and assured that this is something that the two parties continue to negotiate about. “China is in contact with the WHO so that the experts can visit the country. China is working hard on covid prevention tasks, but is still overcoming difficulties to accelerate preparations, something that the WHO is well aware of,” said today the spokesperson of the Asian country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, quoted by the local press.
Hua said that “first we have to finish the necessary procedures and take the appropriate measures. We are still negotiating with the WHO on this”. “There has never been any problem in the cooperation between China and the WHO. It’s not just a visa problem. The two parties are in contact to set a date and prepare the visit,” he added.