The Chinese Communist Party has denied World Health Organization officials access to the city of Wuhan – the epicenter of COVID-19 – for a scheduled probe into the origins of the virus.
The probe came after many months of negotiation between the Chinese government and the World Health Organization (WHO) – a body many have accused of being soft on China.
Destined for Wuhan, WHO’s researchers encountered difficulties with visa clearances when arriving in the Chinese city. Chinese officials, however, pushed back, noting the “details of the visit, including dates, were still being arranged.”
WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted he was “very disappointed” that the Chinese Communist Party had not yet finalized arrangements for the team’s arrivals “given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute”.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying attempted to explain the “misunderstanding” before defending China’s lack of transparency with WHO.
“Chinese authorities are in close co-operation with WHO but there has been some minor outbreaks in multiple places around the world and many countries and regions are busy in their work preventing the virus and we are also working on this,” she explained.