The WHO advises that "non-medical, fabric masks can be used by the general public under the age of 60 and who do not have underlying health conditions."
The group has so far also visited hospitals where early cases were detected, markets, and an exhibition on the battle with the outbreak in the provincial capital of Wuhan.
In a statement, WHO, Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said they are working on creating an emergency reserve of about 500,000 doses.
A World Health Organization-led team investigating the origins of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic left its quarantine hotel on Thursday to begin fieldwork, two weeks after arriving in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus emerged in late 2019.
During his first days in office, US President Joe Biden has signed dozens of executive orders cancelling his predecessor’s most damaging decrees, including the ban on the entry of Muslims
The group is expected to spend two more weeks in China, and will visit the seafood market at the centre of the early outbreak. It will also visit the Wuhan Institute of Virology. One hypothesis, rejected by China, is that the outbreak was caused by a leak at the government lab.
The group was driven to the Jinyintan Hospital, one of the city’s first to deal with patients in early 2020 suffering from a then-unknown virus, as the horrors of the virus emerged in the central Chinese city.
About 6 million of the doses will arrive in the first quarter of 2021 under the COVAX scheme, with the remainder due by mid-year, Faisal Sultan, special assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, said in a statement.
The mission, delayed by China and weighed down by political baggage, has a remit to explore how the virus jumped from animal to human. Experts say the Huanan market still plays a role in tracing the origins of the virus, since the first cluster of cases was identified there.
The comments came after the WHO chief said on Tuesday he was “very disappointed” that Beijing had yet to finalise permission even as the team of experts had begun travelling to China to explore the beginnings of the virus, which first emerged in late 2019 in the central city.