A World Health Organization-led staff investigating the origins of COVID-19 are to start digital conferences with their Chinese hosts from a lodge in China’s Wuhan, the place the pandemic first emerged, on Friday.
Their arrival on the metropolis in central China on Thursday was disrupted by the absence of two members who failed coronovirus antibody exams in Singapore. One of the lacking members has since handed a check and their journey to China is being organized, based on China’s overseas ministry.
“Team now undergoing the mandatory 14 days quarantine & being treated very well by our hosts. Work begins today, day 1, in teleconf. mtgs w/ China team,” tweeted staff member Peter Daszak, a zoologist.
The driveway and parking zone of the boutique lodge the place the staff are staying was cordoned off with tape on Friday and safety personnel stood guard on the entrance.
The staff’s arrival in Wuhan got here as China is on alert over a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in its northeast.
The United States, which has accused China of hiding the extent of its preliminary outbreak a yr in the past, has known as for a “transparent” WHO-led investigation and criticised the phrases of the go to, below which Chinese specialists have performed the primary section of analysis.
Dominic Dwyer, an Australian virologist on the staff, mentioned he and the opposite scientists had been attempting to maintain the politics surrounding the journey apart.
“There’s always politics with this sort of scenario but one of the things that COVID-19 has shown us is if you have good science, you then inform the politics,” he mentioned.
“You want to fill the scientific vacuum with the answers so that people can make more informed and, therefore, presumably more sensible decisions.”
Dwyer mentioned the itinerary for the remainder of the journey was nonetheless to be sorted out however he hoped to go to analysis institutes, hospitals and the market the place the primary human circumstances of the illness had been detected in late 2019.
“Getting an understanding of how they (markets) work physically by seeing them is helpful because one’s trying to work out how viruses might have come into the market from outside…and spread within the market, or parts of the market, and then spread to the community,” he mentioned.
The staff are usually not allowed to mingle whereas in quarantine, so shall be holding all conferences nearly.
“It’s in the room for two weeks,” mentioned Dwyer. “The rooms are a good size and they’ve given everyone exercise equipment and meals are delivered,” including he had some weights, a skipping rope and a yoga mat.
One of the 2 lacking members of the staff, a UK nationwide, shall be allowed to journey to China after re-testing unfavorable in an antibody check, overseas ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian advised a information briefing in Beijing on Friday. The different member, who’s Sudanese, remains to be testing constructive for antibodies, he mentioned.
“We will remain in contact with the WHO on these matters,” mentioned Zhao.
The staff of 15 had all examined unfavorable for the illness previous to leaving their house international locations, and underwent additional testing whereas in transit in Singapore.
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