The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, revealed this Tuesday that the Chinese authorities have for now prevented the arrival of some experts from the mission that must investigate the origin of the coronavirus, so it is has been "very disappointed" with Beijing.
"In the last 24 hours, several of the experts began their trip to China from their countries, but today we learned that the Chinese authorities did not complete the necessary permits for the arrival of the team, so I am very disappointed," said Ghebreyesus. "Some of them at the last minute, could not travel to China," added the Ethiopian expert, who for more than a year has praised Beijing for its collaboration in the fight against the pandemic, something that, however, had been criticized by governments like the United States.
The director-general added that the WHO is in contact with the authorities of the Asian country to "make it clear to them that the mission is a priority" and has affirmed that China has assured him that they will accelerate the procedures to facilitate the start of the mission.
The mission will have two phases and will be carried out by 10 Chinese experts and 10 international experts (epidemiologists, virologists, public health experts, zoologists) from the United States, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Vietnam, Germany, and Qatar. Some are linked to that Geneva-based agency, others to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and others to the World Organization for Animal Health. It will also have food health permits from Russia, Australia, Sudan, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Japan, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The mission should travel, among other places, to the city of Wuhan (central China), where the first cases of covid-19 were detected and, in principle, its objective is to find the possible animal origin of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and through what channels it was transmitted to human beings. The organization of this mission has been delayed for months and has been surrounded by secrecy, both from the Chinese authorities and from the WHO itself.
It will be in Wuhan where the first phase will start, before expanding to the rest of China and other countries. Initially, only Chinese scientists will participate in the fieldwork; international experts will provide remote support and travel to the original focus of the pandemic after they have analyzed the results of those initial work. Longer-term studies will be addressed in the second phase.
In addition, Ghebreyesus has asked for the year 2021 that health be "less" politicized and has highlighted the importance of countries acting "quickly" to stop infections and mourn more deaths. “It is important to save lives and protect healthcare professionals. This pandemic is tiring, but it is much worse for those who work in medical services or for those patients who are suffering from covid-19 or who have to postpone their cancer treatment, ”the WHO leader has detailed.
The expert has once again asked citizens to quarantine themselves on suspicion of suffering from covid-19 and the governments to provide them with the possibility of being able to isolate themselves properly. "You have to break the chains of transmission and for that it is necessary to identify and find those infected and give them the care they need," he emphasized.