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China: WHO experts to visit from Thursday to probe origins of COVID-19

This file photo taken on January 11, 2020 shows members of staff of the Wuhan Hygiene Emergency Response Team leaving the closed Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in the city of Wuhan, in Hubei, Province (NOEL CELIS / AFP)
This file photo taken on January 11, 2020 shows members of staff of the Wuhan Hygiene Emergency Response Team leaving the closed Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in the city of Wuhan, in Hubei, Province (NOEL CELIS / AFP)

Ten World Health Organization scientists will visit China from Thursday to probe the origins of COVID-19, authorities in China say, more than a year after the pandemic began and amid accusations Beijing has tried to thwart the investigation.

The long-awaited mission is of great political significance at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has devastated the world, caused almost two million deaths, and brought the global economy to a virtual standstill.

The WHO team “will conduct joint research cooperation on the origins of COVID-19 with Chinese scientists,” the National Health Commission says in a statement.

A last-minute delay to the mission earlier this month earned China a rare rebuke from the head of the WHO.

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