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“Our experts are wholeheartedly in the stressful battle to control the epidemic,” Hua said.
There was no immediate comment from the WHO on Monday’s announcement, but UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric had earlier told reporters at UN headquarters in New York that secretary-general Antonio Guterres was “fully supportive of Tedros” and WHO’s efforts to get a team in there.”
“It’s very important that as the WHO is in the lead in fighting the pandemic, that it also has a leading role in trying to look back at the roots of this pandemic so we can be better prepared for the next one,” Dujarric said.
“We very much hope that China’s reported comments that it is working with the WHO and looking for a smooth visit will happen.”
New Hebei outbreak
The virus’ origins have been the source of intense speculation, much of it cantered around the likelihood that it was carried by bats and passed to humans through an intermediary species sold as food or medicine in traditional Chinese wet markets.
China has largely stemmed new cases of domestic transmission, but said Monday scores of people had tested positive for coronavirus in Hebei province, bordering Beijing.
That outbreak comes amid measures to curb the further spread of the virus during next month’s Lunar New Year holiday.
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