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6 Jan, 2021 11:21

‘Not just a visa issue’: China says ‘preparatory work’ needed for WHO visit to trace Covid-19 pandemic origin

‘Not just a visa issue’: China says ‘preparatory work’ needed for WHO visit to trace Covid-19 pandemic origin

Beijing has said its health authorities are not yet in a position to receive a delegation from the WHO, after the world health body’s boss said he was “very disappointed” China hasn't granted entry to Covid experts.

Speaking on Wednesday during a regular press briefing, Hua Chunying, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said the authorities were still preparing themselves for the visit by the ten World Health Organization (WHO) experts. 

The WHO disease team was scheduled to visit Wuhan in early January to trace the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, but they have not had their visas issued. 

“China still overcomes difficulties, accelerates internal preparatory work, and tries its best to create good conditions for international expert groups to come to China to carry out traceability cooperation,” Hua told reporters. 

“In order to ensure the smooth progress of the international expert group’s work in China, it is necessary to perform necessary procedures and make relevant specific arrangements.”

The spokeswoman claimed that China has always adopted an open, transparent and responsible attitude to promoting international traceability research, and had previously invited a WHO team to visit the country. 

Hua added that Chinese experts have frequently shared honest evidence with global bodies and they remain in regular communication with the WHO. 

Also on rt.com WHO chief 'disappointed' China still hasn't approved entry of Covid-19 experts investigating pandemic origins

The comments come as WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was “very disappointed” that Beijing had still not authorized the entry of his team of experts. 

“Today, we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalized the necessary permissions for the team's arrival in China. I am very disappointed with this news,” Ghebreyesus said during a virtual news briefing on Tuesday. 

It was reported that two members of the ten-man team had already commenced their journeys to China on Tuesday before being informed that their visas had not yet been granted.

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