In tightly managed go to, WHO crew reaches Wuhan moist market

Wuhan, January 31

A World Health Organisation-led team of experts investigating the origins of Covid visited Huanan market on Sunday, the now-shuttered wholesale seafood centre in the Chinese city of Wuhan where Covid was initially detected.

The team arrived at Huanan amid heavy security, with additional barricades set up outside a high blue fence surrounding the market, and left in a convoy after about one hour. The experts did not take questions from journalists. Since being released from a two-week quarantine on Thursday, the team has visited hospitals and markets, as well as an exhibition commemorating Wuhan’s battle with the virus, which included a 76-day lockdown of the city of 11 million.

“Very important site visits today — a wholesale market first & Huanan Seafood Market just now. Very informative & critical for our joint teams to understand the epidemiology of Covid as it started to spread at the end of 2019,” team member Peter Daszak said on Twitter.

The World Health Organisation, 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.

No full itinerary for the health team’s two weeks of field work has been announced, and journalists covering the tightly controlled visit have been kept at a distance from team members. Public access to the sprawling Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market has been restricted since it was shut at the beginning of last year.

Meanwhile, Israel has decided to transfer 5,000 doses of Covid vaccine to Palestinians to immunise front-line medical workers. — Reuters

16 Chinese vaccines undergoing clinical trials

Beijing: With the demand for Covid vaccine intensified around the world, China has said it has increased the number of vaccines undergoing clinical trials to 16 from 11 to step up supplies at home and abroad. Seven of them have entered phase-III trials and one has conditionally hit the market, Wu Yuanbin, a Science and Technology official, said. China says 46 countries have expressed desire to import its vaccines. PTI

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