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.
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 centre in the province of Hubei, which fights epidemic diseases in animals, could provide information on how a coronavirus endemic in horseshoe bats in southwest China might have crossed into humans, possibly via an intermediary species.
Most scientists reject the hypothesis, but some speculate that a virus captured from the wild could have figured in experiments at the lab to test the risks of a human spillover and then escaped via an infected staff member.
Conclusions from the highly anticipated World Health Organisation (WHO) report on the origin of COVID-19 have been revealed, pointing to exotic animals farmed for trade
His arrival in the city, where the virus is believed to have first taken hold late last year, comes after its spread in mainland China has sharply slowed in the past week and as attention has turned to preventing imported infections from overseas hot spots such as Iran, Italy and South Korea.
The coronavirus outbreak that has claimed more than 4,000 lives globally. The notice said key sectors such as public transport, medical supply and producers of daily necessities will be allowed to return to work.
In January, China effectively shut down Wuhan and placed its 11 million residents in effective quarantine — a move it then replicated in the rest of Hubei province, putting 50 million people in mass isolation.