Monday, 25 January, 2021

Two WHO members barred from entering China after testing positive for coronavirus

Scientists say vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic but inocculation programmes are off to a slow start Scientists say vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic but inocculation programmes are off to a slow start
Sandy Nunez | 14 January, 2021, 19:22

China has stated it will support scientists from all over the world to jointly carry out global research into the origin and transmission of the virus, and has pledged to continue to work with the WHO and the worldwide community to boost global cooperation in the fight against COVID-19.

"They were tested again in #Singapore and were all negative for PCR". The coronavirus was initially linked to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan.

"We are looking for the answers here that may save us in future - not culprits and not people to blame", the WHO's top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, told reporters this week, adding that the World Health Organization was willing to go "anywhere and everywhere" to find out how the virus emerged.

Peter Ben Embarek, team lead for the mission, said the group would start with a two-week quarantine at a hotel due to China's border requirements. "But two members tested positive for IgM antibodies", the agency adds, saying that those two scientists will now be retested for antibodies.

The United States and Australia have led the charge in criticising China's handling of the initial stages of the pandemic, accusing Beijing of downplaying its severity and preventing an effective response until too late.

The team's partial arrival comes after Chinese authorities delayed the trip by more than a week, and after nearly a year of wrangling and negotiation by the World Health Organization to gain access to the central Chinese city where the coronavirus emerged.

NHC officials said that finding the origins of the virus is a scientific question and they suggested conducting similar visits to other countries to achieve this objective.

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But where the virus came from and how it was transmitted to humans remain unknown.

In May previous year, the World Health Assembly (WHA) - the governing body of the 194-member states of the WHO - approved a resolution to set up an independent inquiry to conduct an "impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation" of the global response as well as that of the WHO.

It is unclear how the virus got from bats to humans.

More than one year has passed since the first coronavirus cases were reported in Wuhan.

As of Wednesday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in China reached 87,844, according to the NHC. Hebei health officials did not give the woman's age but have previously said all critical cases in the province were patients over 60 years old.

China had largely brought the virus outbreak under control through a series of strict lockdowns and mass testing.

Infections are still small compared with many other countries that are seeing record numbers of infections, but Beijing is anxious to stamp out local clusters ahead of next month's Lunar New Year festival when hundreds of millions of people will be on the move across the country.