WHO investigators to head to China in early Jan to probe coronavirus outbreak

WION Web Team
United Nations Published: Dec 19, 2020, 12:32 PM(IST)

The novel coronavirus Photograph:( Reuters )

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Since the virus first emerged a year ago, the overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 75.5 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.67 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Officials from the World Health Organisation (WHO) have said an international team led by the UN agency will visit China in the first week of January to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergency expert, said international experts would go to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first cases of COVID-19 were detected last December.

"We still don't have a take-off date because we are working on the logistics around visas and flights. We do expect the team to be going there in the first week of January. There will be quarantine arrangements," Ryan told a news conference.

"The team will visit Wuhan, that's the purpose of the mission. The point of the mission is to go to the original point at which human cases were detected. They'll fully expect to do that," he added.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, said the agency was in touch with South African researchers who identified a new variant of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

Since the virus first emerged a year ago, the overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 75.5 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.67 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Saturday, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 75,588,781 and 1,672,826, respectively.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 17,442,180 and 313,246, respectively, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India ranks second with 10,004,599 cases, followed by Brazil with 7,162,978.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest death toll with 185,650 fatalities, while India is in the third place with 145,136 deaths.

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