WHO team studying COVID-19 origins in Wuhan, China out of quarantine

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Jan. 28 (UPI) — A team of experts with the World Health Organization on Thursday completed their two-week quarantine in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where they’re to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

The team arrived in Wuhan on Jan. 14 to begin their quarantine following months of delays and negotiations between the WHO and Chinese officials.

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“So proud to graduate from our 14 days ‘isolation quarantine,'” team member Peter Daszak tweeted early Thursday. “No one went stir crazy & we’ve been [very] productive!”

The mission began in May when the WHO approved a resolution led by the European Union and Australia to establish an independent probe of the virus’ origins despite Chinese pushback and claims that an investigation is unnecessary.

The resolution was spearheaded when both China and the WHO came under scrutiny over their handling of the early outbreak of COVID-19.

The United States, in particular, chastised both, accusing China and the global health body of covering up the initial spread.

Former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the WHO in response, a move that has since been reversed through an executive order signed by President Joe Biden.

At least two members set off for the city earlier this month but were rerouted once it was learned they wouldn’t be able to enter the country due to visa issues.

During their quarantine, members of the WHO team said they were busy with work.

“Surprisingly easy to do 14 days in quarantine, the high workload meant days have sailed by,” Daszak said in a tweet.

Peter Ben Embarek, who leads the WHO team, tweeted that meetings that last for 10-13 hours a day, many emails and discussions meant there was little time for much else.

“A bit of exercise early morning in the room or during some of the online meetings,” he said.

On Jan. 14, when the WHO announced the team had arrived in Wuhan, the U.N. health body tweeted that they would immediately begin working once their quarantine was complete.

Prior to the team leaving, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters the team will work to identify the source of the early infections.

“This is important not just for COVID-19 but for the future of global health security and to manage emerging disease threats with pandemic potential,” he said.

Wuhan was ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, home to a seafood market where the first cases of COVID-19 are connected.

Beijing has said Chinese officials will cooperate with the WHO team.

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World News – UPI.com

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