Chinese authorities this week refused to confirm the exact dates and details of the visit, a sign of the enduring sensitivity of their mission.
Covid-19 was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, before seeping beyond China’s borders to wreak havoc, costing over 1.8 million lives and eviscerating economies.
But its origins remain bitterly contested, lost in a fog of recriminations and conjecture from the international community — as well as obfuscation from Chinese authorities determined to keep control of its virus narrative.
The WHO team has promised to focus on the science, specifically how the coronavirus jumped from animals — believed to be bats — to humans.
“This is not about finding a guilty country or a guilty authority,” Fabian Leendertz from the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s central disease control body who will be among the team to visit, told AFP in late December.
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