A team of 13 World Health Organization experts is set to start its field visits and conduct investigations into the origin of Coronavirus pandemic from Chinese city of Wuhan. The investigators will technically complete its 14-day quarantine today and begin a long-awaited investigation into the origin of the pandemic. Wuhan was the epicenter of the global COVID-19 outbreak last year.
Whole world will be looking at the team’s work as they try to unravel how the virus first emerged in late 2019 especially after the investigation was delayed several times. Over the past two weeks, the team has been interacting with each other and Chinese scientists through video calls.
A WHO team first visited China in February 2020 and said that the COVID-19 virus appeared to have zoonotic origin, with the likely first outbreak at a seafood market in Wuhan. Last week, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response said that both WHO and China could have acted faster and more forcefully to contain the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Several countries, most vocally the United States and Australia, have accused Beijing of downplaying the outbreak’s severity during its early stages, and preventing an effective response until it was too late. WHO was also severely criticized by the then-US President Donald Trump for behaving pro-China.