WHO COVID team visits hospital, 'propaganda' exhibition in Wuhan

New DelhiUpdated: Jan 30, 2021, 02:31 PM IST

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The media has been kept away from the experts and details such as itinerary are trickling through WHO tweets

Team of World Health Organisation experts visited an exhibition that celebrated China's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan. News agency AFP mentioned this to be a 'propaganda' exhibition. The experts toured the exhibition after a meeting at the hospital that treated first confirmed COVID-19 case a year ago.

The media has been kept away from the experts and details such as itinerary are trickling through WHO tweets. The group of experts was driven to the Jinyintan Hospital, the first to receive officially diagnosed Covid-19 patients in late 2019, as the horrors of the virus emerged in the central Chinese city.

Team member Peter Daszak welcomes the hospital visit as an "Important opportunity to talk directly w/ medics who were on the ground at that critical time fighting COVID!"

On Saturday afternoon, the team visited a cavernous exhibition that applauds the emergency response of Wuhan health authorities in the chaotic, terrifying early stages of the outbreak -- as well as the agility of the Communist leadership in controlling a crisis without precedent.

The WHO mission comes with heavy political baggage -- China refused the team access until mid-January and there are question marks over what the experts can hope to find a year after the virus first emerged.

On Friday, the WHO's emergencies director Michael Ryan sought to manage expectations.

Success "is not measured necessarily in absolutely finding a source on the first mission", he told a press conference in Geneva.

"This is a complicated business, but what we need to do is gather all of the data... and come to an assessment as to how much more we know about the origins of the disease and what further studies may be needed to elucidate that."

Last week, China warned the United States against "political interference" during the trip, after the White House demanded a "robust and clear" investigation.

The WHO insists the probe will stick tightly to the science behind how the virus jumped from animals -- believed to be bats -- to humans.

(With AFP inputs)