It’s a rocky start to the mission to study the origin of the virus that comes over a year after the first case was detected in Wuhan.
TEAM MEMBERS OF THE World Health Organization’s mission to study the origin of the coronavirus arrived in Wuhan, China, on Thursday, but two researchers are stuck in Singapore awaiting further test results.
“All team members had multiple negative PCR and antibody tests for COVID-19 in their home countries prior to traveling,” WHO tweeted. “They were tested again in #Singapore and were all negative for PCR. But two members tested positive for IgM antibodies. They are being retested for both IgM and IgG antibodies.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference on Thursday that the country “will strictly follow the relevant epidemic prevention regulations and requirements, and provide corresponding support and facilities for WHO experts who come to China to carry out international cooperation on tracing the origin of the virus.”
It’s a rocky start to a mission that comes over a year after the first coronavirus case was detected in Wuhan.
And it’s not the mission’s first setback. Earlier this month, WHO issued a rare criticism of China for delaying the team’s arrival due to visa clearances.
“I’m very disappointed with this news given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the press conference last week.
The mission is aimed at finding the origin of the virus, which is likely to be difficult work and could take years if it’s uncovered at all. But researchers believe it is important for public health information to have.