China in talks with WHO on tracing coronavirus origin


China’s foreign ministry announced it is in talks with the World Health Organization (WHO) on plans to trace the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, following a visit to the country by two experts from the UN agency.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters on Tuesday, the experts conducted “preparatory consultations on scientific research cooperation on virus tracing” during their two-week stay.

Wang said the talks touched on research in the areas of population, environment, molecules, animal traceability and transmission routes of the coronavirus, as well as plans for further scientific research.

He said the two sides worked on formulating a plan for China’s contribution to the global tracing effort under a resolution passed by the World Health Assembly under the WHO.

No word was given on when that effort will begin in earnest after China says a full investigation may have to wait until the pandemic is under control.

The virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and has been linked to a wholesale food market where wild animals were sold.

Scientists think it likely jumped from a wild animal such as a bat to humans via an intermediary species, possibly the anteater-like pangolin.

China has also rejected accusations that it delayed releasing information to WHO at the start of the outbreak. (Source: Mainichi Japan)