WHO Considers Sending New Mission To China

WHO Considers Sending New Mission To China

May 7, 2020, 7:50 a.m.

The World Health Organization says it is in talks with China to send a new mission to the country to investigate how the coronavirus spread.

The United States and China have exchanged barbs regarding the origin of the virus. US President Donald Trump has said it may have spread from a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Beijing has denied the allegation, saying there is no evidence for it.

The technical lead of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, Maria Van Kerkhove, said during a news conference on Wednesday that there is discussion with the Chinese side over a further mission to look at "what happened at the beginning."

Van Kerkhove also referred to the reports that a pneumonia patient in France whose samples were taken on December 27 had the coronavirus. France reported its first infection on January 24. It was also the first confirmed case in Europe.

Van Kerkhove suggested someone infected may have traveled from Wuhan to other locations in December, but added, "I don't want to speculate." She said it is important to look further into the case.

The WHO will hold its annual assembly starting May 18. Taiwan is seeking to participate in it as an observer.

WHO legal counsel Derek Walton said Taiwan's participation is a question for the 194 members of the WHO.

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