Chinese officials have reportedly blocked a team of World Health Organisation (WHO) experts who are supposed to enter the Asian nation and investigate the origin of the coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 global pandemic, Aljazeera reports.
This was revealed by the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who told the press that WHO is very disappointed by the development:
Today we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalised the necessary permissions for the team’s arrival in China.
I have been in contact with senior Chinese officials and I have once again made clear that the mission is a priority for WHO and the international team. I have been assured that China is speeding up the internal procedure for the earliest possible deployment.
2 out of the 10 investigators had already started the journey to China when it emerged China was yet to grant them entry. The 10 member team is supposed to investigate where the virus might have come from is being led by a WHO expert on animal diseases that cross the species barrier Peter Ben Embarek
However, China’s foreign minister Hua Chunying has said China is willing to cooperate and the issue is being addressed:
The origins problem is very complex. To ensure that the work of the global experts group in China is successful and to carry out the necessary procedures and relevant concrete plans, currently both sides are still in negotiations on this.
I understand that it’s not just a visa problem and the actual date and itinerary. Both sides are still in close communication. Our experts are wholeheartedly in the stressful battle to control the epidemic
The virus which has brought the world to a standstill has infected over 88 million people and over a million others have died from the infamous virus.