The World Health Organization delegation visited the provincial Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Wuhan, where the original outbreak management was in charge.
The visit took place on February 1, in the context of China tightly controlling access to virus information. Previously, the country avoids accepting responsibility for the late 2019 epidemic response delay. At the same time, the authorities have repeatedly made the point that the nCoV was brought from elsewhere into Wuhan.
“The trip is smooth and really important,” said Peter Daszak, zoologist and team member, speaking to international media after the visit. But he did not give more detailed information.
The evidence the team collects will be put into a database for many years of investigation. Determining the zoonotic origin of the virus requires a variety of research activities, including sampling, genetic analysis and epidemiological investigations.
On January 31, experts went to the Hainan, Wuhan, seafood market where the first infections were found. The vehicle carrying members of the lead group entered the fenced market, while the guard quickly blocked the way, preventing others from entering. Access to Hoa Nam market was severely restricted since the site was closed.
Before that, on the afternoon of January 17, Dr. Nguyen Viet Hung, co-leader of the Research Program on Human and Animal Health, International Institute for Livestock Research (ILRI), a member of WHO, shared with VnExpress: “Covid-19 causes too great consequences. If we find the source of the virus, we will understand more about the pandemic, helping to control the pandemic and better prevent future diseases”.
According to WHO, the mission’s nCOV traceability plan is divided into two phases. Phase 1 (short-term study) learns more about how the virus invaded and spread in Wuhan. This is also the main task of the expert group. The team will consider all hypotheses and rely on information and scientific evidence to give the most accurate data.
Based on that scientific background and documentation, the expert group continues phase 2 (long-term study).
Up to now, China has limited disease outbreaks through rigorous testing and tracing. Residents are asked to wear masks in public. Authorities are willing to block a locality, even the whole city, if a positive case is found. New outbreaks have mainly occurred in the cold northeast. On February 1, the country recorded 33 new infections in three provinces.
However, China reported more than 2,000 Covid-19 patients in January alone. This is the highest number since the last epidemic peak in March 2020. Recently, two people died, for the first time in a few months.
Thuc Linh (According to the SCMP)