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China says WHO team to investigate COVID-19 origins will arrive on January 14

The National Health Commission, which announced the arrival date, delayed from its early January schedule, did not detail the team's itinerary, however

twitter-logoReuters | January 11, 2021 | Updated 12:57 IST
China says WHO team to investigate COVID-19 origins will arrive on January 14
China has been accused of a cover-up that delayed its initial response, allowing the virus to spread since it first emerged in the central city of Wuhan late in 2019

A World Health Organization (WHO) team of international experts tasked with investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic will arrive in China on January 14, Chinese authorities said on Monday. Lack of authorisation from Beijing had delayed the arrival of the 10-strong team on a long-awaited mission to investigate early infections, in what China's foreign ministry called a "misunderstanding."

The National Health Commission, which announced the arrival date, delayed from its early January schedule, did not detail the team's itinerary, however. China has been accused of a cover-up that delayed its initial response, allowing the virus to spread since it first emerged in the central city of Wuhan late in 2019.

The United States has called for a "transparent" WHO-led investigation and criticised its terms, which allowed Chinese scientists to do the first phase of preliminary research. Ahead of the trip, Beijing has been seeking to shape the narrative about when and where the pandemic began, with senior diplomat Wang Yi saying "more and more studies" showed it emerged in multiple regions.

While other countries continue to struggle with infection surges, China has aggressively doused flare-ups. Sunday's 103 new cases were mainland China's biggest daily increase in more than five months, as new infections rise in the province of Hebei, surrounding the capital, Beijing.

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