WUHAN(CHINA)- The team of experts from World Health Organization investigating the origins of COVID-19, visited a hospital on Saturday in the central city of Wuhan that treated early coronavirus patients. The mission is being tightly controlled by its Chinese.
The team was on a two week quarantine after reaching China. On their second day after the quarantine, the team went to Jinyintan Hospital, where doctors had collected samples from patients suffering from an unidentified pneumonia in late 2019. The team returning from the hospital did not speak to the media.
“Important opportunity to talk directly w/ medics who were on the ground at that critical time fighting COVID!”, team member Peter Daszak said on Twitter.
“Just back from visit at Jinyintan hospital, that specialised in infectious diseases and was designated for treatment of the first cases in Wuhan. Stories quite similar to what I have heard from our ICU doctors,” team member Marion Koopmans tweeted.
Later on Saturday, the WHO team went to an exhibition centre that features an exhibit commemorating early efforts to battle the outbreak in Wuhan, which included a 76-day lockdown of the city of 11 million.
The WHO, which has sought to manage expectations for the mission, said on Friday that team members would be limited to visits organised by their Chinese hosts and would not have any contact with community members, due to health restrictions.
China has pushed the idea that the virus existed abroad before it was discovered in Wuhan, with state media citing the presence of the virus on imported frozen food packaging and scientific papers saying it had been circulating in Europe in 2019.
China’s foreign ministry has also hinted that the sudden closure of a US army laboratory at Fort Detrick in Maryland in July 2019 was linked to the pandemic.