The World Health Organization (WHO) has had assurances from China that an international field trip to investigate the origins of the new coronavirus will be arranged as soon as possible, its top emergency expert said on Monday.
Chinese researchers are carrying out epidemiological studies into early cases and conditions at a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. An international team of experts has been formed to carry out phase 2 studies.
But the United States, and to a lesser extent some European delegations, have raised questions about the delay and sought a timeline of the international experts’ visit, diplomats said.
The virus was first identified in Wuhan in December, prompting U.S. President Donald Trump to label it the “China plague” and accuse the WHO of being soft on Beijing.
“We fully expect that we will have a team on the ground. We need to be able to have the international team join our Chinese colleagues and go to the ground and look at the results and outcomes of those phase 1 studies and verify these data on the ground,” emergency expert Mike Ryan told a news briefing.