WHO must also look elsewhere, China says ahead of COVID probe

WHO must also look elsewhere, China says ahead of COVID probe

10-member team set to trace virus origins starting in Wuhan on Thursday

SHANGHAI — An international team of scientists from the World Health Organization will begin tracing the origin of the COVID-19 virus in China on Thursday, even as Beijing suggests it should also look in other countries.

The proposal reflects the country’s long-held view that the virus, which has infected over 90 million people and caused nearly 2 million deaths worldwide, might not have originated in Wuhan.

This thinking may test Beijing’s cooperation with the 10-member team of scientists, whose visit was delayed by Chinese officials for unknown reasons.

The WHO said studies will start in Wuhan as the scientists seek to identify the source of the disease in collaboration with Chinese counterparts.

“Scientific evidence will drive hypothesis, which will then be the basis for further long-term studies,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday.