WHO Team Visits Chinese Animal Market Linked To COVID-19 Origin

January 31, 2021
WHO Wuhan

WHO experts on Sunday visited the market in central China linked to the first known Covid-19 cluster, seeking clues about the beginning of the pandemic as a number of nations further tightened restrictions to stop the coronavirus.

France on Sunday closed its borders to non-European countries except for essential travel, a day after Germany imposed a ban on most travellers from nations hit by new, more contagious coronavirus variants.

And authorities in Australia imposed a snap five-day lockdown in Perth after the detection of a single case in the city of roughly two million people.

WHO Wuhan

The emergence of the new variants has further complicated the fight against the coronavirus, which first emerged in late 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan before unleashing death and economic devastation around the world.

A World Health Organization team visited the Huanan food market in Wuhan on Sunday as part of its fieldwork in a politically sensitive mission to investigate the origins of the pandemic.

Their visit is being tightly controlled, and the WHO has already downplayed expectations of finding the source of the virus, which is known to have infected more than 102 million people so far with over 2.2 million deaths.

The experts did not take any questions from journalists as they visited the market.

In recent days, Chinese authorities have relentlessly pushed a positive narrative of heroism and decisive, swift action against the virus.

But it has faced criticism at home and abroad for how it handled the initial Wuhan outbreak and its lack of transparency.

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