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WHO official urges China visit on virus origin

Michael Ryan, WHO Director of Global Alert and Response of the World Health Organization (WHO),...
Michael Ryan, WHO Director of Global Alert and Response of the World Health Organization (WHO), looks on prior to a press conference about the A H1N1 Flu at the World Health Organisation (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Saturday, May 2, 2009.(MARTIAL TREZZINI | AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 2:03 PM CST
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GENEVA — The head of emergencies at the World Health Organization says it’s “extremely important” for its international team to visit China to look into the origins of the coronavirus, saying the U.N. health agency has been reassured such a trip will happen “as soon as possible.”

Dr. Michael Ryan said such a visit is needed so that “the international community can be reassured of the quality of the science” that he lamented has been increasingly questioned for political ends — including pressure and threatening e-mails against scientists.

“Clearly, we all need to understand the origin of the virus. We all need to understand where it has come from, not least to understand where it may re-emerge in the future,” Ryan told a news conference from Geneva. “I believe our Chinese colleagues are just as anxious to find those answers as we are.”

Ten months after its declaration that COVID-19 represented an international public health emergency, WHO is still working to deploy an international team of experts to China to visit the suspected epicenter in the city of Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province.

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