Vastavam web: With investigators from the World Health Organization (WHO) set to visit China next year, residents of Wuhan are saying they want the team to come to the central city, hoping they could prove the virus did not originate there. An international team of investigators is expected to travel to China in January, the WHO said on Thursday, more than a year after the first identified cluster of COVID-19 infections was linked to the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan.
“My feeling is that it is not from there,” he added, referring to the seafood market. The WHO did not confirm whether its team will go to Wuhan, saying that discussions on the itinerary were ongoing. A two-member WHO team visited China in July, but did not visit Wuhan. Reuters reported earlier, citing a member and diplomats, that a team of 12-15 international experts will visit Wuhan to examine evidence, including human and animal samples collected by Chinese researchers, and to build on their initial studies.
China’s foreign ministry did not directly comment on the WHO visit during a daily media briefing on Thursday. “China stands ready to enhance its cooperation with WHO to advance the global tracing efforts and contribute our share in our early victory against the pandemic,” spokesman Wang Wenbin said. Many questions remain about the origins of COVID-19 and the role Wuhan’s exotic wildlife trade may have played in it. Although authorities closed the Huanan market in January, there is a growing scientific consensus that the virus did not originate there. Some studies suggest it was already in circulation by the time it reached the market, with more than one transmission route.