China to allow WHO probe into COVID-19 origins

China announced Monday that a team of foreign experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) would be visiting the country to probe the origins of the novel coronavirus next Thursday.

A 10-member team of international experts is due in Wuhan city, where the virus was first reported in December 2019. It has since spread across the globe, infecting over 90 million people and costing more than 1.9 million lives.

China’s National Health Commission said the WHO experts would arrive on Thursday and “cooperate with Chinese experts to investigate the origin of COVID-19,” the Chinese Global Times daily reported.

Last week, Beijing had said it was still negotiating with the WHO about the visit.

“There has never been any problem in cooperation between China and the WHO. It’s not just a visa issue, the two sides are in close communication on specific dates and arrangements for the team’s China visit,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a press conference on Wednesday.

The statement came a day after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed his dismay over China not allowing members of the team to enter the country for the on-site probe.

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