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WHO team finally let out into Wuhan to trace COVID origin, but is it still worth it?

Wuhan, China — The World Well being Group’s workforce of coronavirus consultants have been launched from quarantine to start their subject work in Wuhan, China, on Thursday. After two weeks shut in a resort, as mandated by China’s virus-mitigation guidelines for all incoming vacationers, they are going to now start their hunt for the supply of COVID-19 within the metropolis the place the world’s first recognized instances emerged. 

CBS Information Asia correspondent Ramy Inocencio and his workforce have been touring to Wuhan to cowl the pandemic because it started, they usually’re again once more this week as 13 freed consultants from the WHO start their mission in earnest.

They tweeted images of their departure, and New York-based epidemiologist Peter Daszak confirmed off his clearance letter from the Chinese language authorities. He instructed CBS Information earlier than his launch from the resort that his focus will likely be on China’s first instances of COVID-19, which stretch again to late 2019, based mostly on present findings and experiences.

“What contacts that they had, what behaviors that they had, and does that lead us into a unique geography?,” Daszak stated, including {that a} 12 months after the outbreak started, it is nonetheless “unclear if China, the nation, is the true supply — the unique supply of the virus.”

That stance will in all probability frustrate the many individuals world wide who imagine COVID-19 did come from China. Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Market is believed by many to be Floor Zero of the pandemic. The WHO workforce is anticipated to go to, however the market has been shut down and completely cleaned out for the reason that illness tore throughout the globe. 

Dr. Wang Linfa, an professional in the same SARS virus, is tracing COVID-19’s origin from his lab in Singapore, and he says that even a 12 months later, the market might nonetheless supply clues. 

“Except you do [investigations] hours after the incident, whether or not a day, per week, a 12 months, it makes no distinction if the animal is gone, the pattern is gone, you simply research retrospectively,” he tells CBS Information.

He says the WHO workforce might be able to acquire perception by in search of specifics, like how the animal cages on the market have been organized and what animals have been offered. However he acknowledges that many are skeptical of their mission, which was delayed by Chinese language officers with none clear rationalization.

“Principally WHO cannot win, proper? If the WHO couldn’t get a mission to China, then folks would say they’re toothless. In the event that they get a mission to China, now they are saying it is a PR stunt,” says Wang.

However polished constructive propaganda is one thing China’s Communist celebration is aware of and does effectively. From the discharge of a patriotic new documentary, “Days and Nights in Wuhan,” for the nation to devour, to an enormous COVID-themed museum in Wuhan — which at the start praises President Xi Jinping. 

Critics argue that China cannot be trusted to be forthcoming with all the info that they’ve gathered on the lethal virus, however Daszak, the WHO workforce member from New York, says the world ought to be affected person, and “let historical past be the decide.” 

“I feel this may take, you understand, a few years to actually get an ideal understanding of what occurred,” he tells Inocencio.

Daszak additionally says he expects the WHO workforce to go to designated COVID-19 hospitals within the area, and presumably the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which some imagine to be the true supply of the virus.

However time is already operating out. The workforce members are all on one-month visas, and two weeks have been eaten up in quarantine.  

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