WHO team arrives in Wuhan
A team of experts from the World Health Organization arrived in Wuhan today to start a highly politicised probe into the origins of the coronavirus, as China reported its first death from Covid-19 in eight months.
The 10 scientists, who must complete a two-week quarantine in Wuhan before starting their work, arrived for their much-delayed mission to examine the origins of the pandemic.
The virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 and has since billowed out across the world killing nearly two million people so far, infecting tens of millions and eviscerating the global economy.
Their trip comes as more than 20 million people are under lockdown in the north of China and one province has declared an emergency, with Covid-19 numbers climbing after several months of being relatively static.
No deaths have been reported in mainland China since May last year, with the official death toll now standing at 4,635. The latest death comes as China braces for the scrutiny the arrival of the expert team of WHO scientists will bring.
Peter Ben Embarek, team lead for the mission, said the group would start with a mandatory quarantine at a hotel due to Chinese immigration requirements.
"And then after the two weeks, we would be able to move around and meet our Chinese counterparts in person and go to the different sites that we will want to visit," AFP cited him as saying.
The long-delayed WHO trip comes more than a year after the pandemic began and has sparked political tensions over allegations that Beijing tried to thwart the project.