WHO team in Wuhan to investigate pandemic origins

Global team of researchers arrives in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic began. Team will research the origins of the virus, after months of wrangling with the ruling Community Party.



January 14, 2021 - 9:38 AM

WUHAN, China (AP) — A global team of researchers arrived today in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to conduct a politically sensitive investigation into its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries.

The group sent to Wuhan by the World Health Organization was approved by President Xi Jinping’s government after months of diplomatic wrangling that prompted an unusual public complaint by the head of WHO. 

Scientists suspect the virus that has killed more than 1.9 million people since late 2019 jumped to humans from bats or other animals, most likely in China’s southwest. The ruling Communist Party, stung by complaints it allowed the disease to spread, has suggested the virus came from abroad, possibly on imported seafood, but international scientists reject that.