A World Well being Group-led workforce of consultants investigating the origins of Covid-19 have visited Huanan market, the now shuttered wholesale seafood centre within the Chinese language metropolis of Wuhan the place the virus was initially detected.
The workforce arrived at Huanan amid heavy safety, with further barricades arrange exterior a excessive blue fence surrounding the market, and left in a convoy after about one hour. The consultants didn’t take questions from journalists.
Since being launched from a two-week quarantine on Thursday, the workforce has visited hospitals and markets, in addition to an exhibition commemorating Wuhan’s battle with the virus, which included a 76-day lockdown of the town of 11 million.
The WHO, which has sought to handle expectations for the mission, stated on Friday that workforce members could be restricted to visits organised by their Chinese language hosts and wouldn’t have any contact with group members, due to well being restrictions.
No full itinerary for the workforce’s two weeks of fieldwork has been introduced, and journalists overlaying the tightly managed go to have been saved at a distance from workforce members. Public entry to the sprawling Huanan seafood wholesale market has been restricted because it was shut at first of final 12 months.
Earlier than its closure, the market bustled with tons of of stalls divided into sections for meat, seafood and greens. Now it stands as a landmark in a metropolis that was traumatised as the unique epicentre of what turned the pandemic.
On 31 December 2019, after 4 circumstances of a thriller pneumonia had been linked to the market, it was shuttered in a single day. By the tip of January, Wuhan had gone right into a 76-day lockdown.
Specialists say the Huanan market nonetheless performs a job in tracing the origins of the virus, because the first cluster of circumstances was recognized there.
The WHO-led investigation in Wuhan has been tormented by delays, concern over entry and bickering between China and the US, which accused China of hiding the extent of the preliminary outbreak and criticised the phrases of the go to, beneath which Chinese language consultants carried out the primary section of analysis.
The origins of the virus have change into extremely politicised, and a few Chinese language diplomats and state media have thrown help behind theories that the virus doubtlessly originated out of the country.
The workforce had been set to reach in Wuhan earlier in January, and China’s delay of their go to drew uncommon public criticism from the top of the WHO, which the then US president, Donald Trump, accused of being “China-centric”.