WHO team investigating the origins of COVID-19 visits hospital in China

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The World Health Organization-led team investigating the origins of COVID-19 visited a hospital on Saturday in the central city of Wuhan that treated early Coronavirus patients.

On its second day after two weeks in quarantine, the team went to Jinyintan Hospital, where doctors had collected samples from patients suffering from unidentified pneumonia in late 2019.

Team members Peter Daszak and Marion Koopmans took to Twitter to inform about this visit.

This probe has been plagued by delays, concern over access and bickering between Beijing and Washington, which accused China of hiding the extent of the initial outbreak and criticised the terms of the visit, under which Chinese experts conducted the first phase of research.

The WHO said on Friday that team members would be limited to visits organised by their Chinese hosts and would not have any contact with community members, due to health restrictions. Later on Saturday, the WHO team went to an exhibition centre that features an exhibit commemorating early efforts to battle the outbreak in Wuhan, which included a 76-day lockdown of the city of 11 million.

The group’s itinerary has not been announced but the WHO has said the team plans to visit the seafood market at the centre of the early outbreak as well as the Wuhan Institute of Virology. One hypothesis, rejected by China, is that the outbreak was caused by a leak at the government lab.

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