The World Health Organization said Tuesday that it is “disappointed” Chinese officials haven’t finalized the permissions to allow a team of experts into China to examine the origins of COVID-19.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a rare critique of Beijing, said members of the international scientific team began departing from their home countries over the last 24 hours as part of an arrangement between WHO and the Chinese government.
The WHO had on July 20, 2020, said that it will dispatch rounds of experts to China, so as to investigate the source of Coronavirus.
This was amid serious allegations by the United States Government that China was lying to the world about the virus and that the global health agency was covering up Beijing’s misdeed.
The WHO DG during a news conference in Geneva said “Today, we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalized the necessary permissions for the team’s arrival in China’
“I’m very disappointed with this news, given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute, but had been in contact with senior Chinese officials.”
Mr. Tedros said he “made it clear” that the mission was a priority for the U.N. health agency, and that he was “assured that China is speeding up the internal procedures for the earliest possible deployment.”
“We are eager to get the mission underway as soon as possible,” he added.
The experts drawn from around the world are expected to visit the city of Wuhan, which is suspected as the place that the coronavirus first emerged over a year ago.
WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan said the deployment had been expected to start Tuesday but that the needed approvals had not yet been granted, including for visa clearances.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said recently that “more and more research suggests that the pandemic was likely to have been caused by separate outbreaks in multiple places in the world.”