Felicity Salina, International Law Officer
A team of 10 scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO) has been deployed on Thursday, 14 January, to trace the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. The long-anticipated mission is carried out following talks between the organization and Beijing.
The group will undergo a mandatory quarantine period of two weeks, after which they are scheduled to begin their research, which will include conducting interviews with research institutes, healthcare establishments, and the seafood market said to have been the source of the initial outbreak.
Among the scientists is Dominic Dwyer, a virologist based out of Sydney. Although it is not expected that the team will identify a patient zero, the research, according to Dwyer, will provide a better idea on whether the virus indeed first emerged in Wuhan.
Last May, a total of 110 countries signalled support for a WHO-led inquiry into the global response of the coronavirus disease, ultimately culminating in a draft resolution calling for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the “international health response to COVID-19”. China stated shortly after that such an investigation would be premature.
China, who has been under heavy scrutiny for its alleged cover-up of the outbreak, also denied two researchers from the team entry to the country after their failure to pass a coronavirus antibody test.
Read more about the WHO COVID-19 probe here: