Members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team, including Peter Daszak (C) and Hung Nguyen (L), investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, board a bus following their arrival at a cordoned-off section in the international arrivals area at the airport in Wuhan on January 14, 2021. (AFP)
Members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team, including Peter Daszak (C) and Hung Nguyen (L), investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, board a bus following their arrival at a cordoned-off section in the international arrivals area at the airport in Wuhan on January 14, 2021. (AFP)

China denies entry to 2 WHO members for probe, cites Covid-19 test report

The two members, who had tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies in blood-based serology tests on their way to Wuhan via Singapore, were stopped from boarding their plane to Wuhan.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Arpan Rai
UPDATED ON JAN 14, 2021 05:15 PM IST

China on Thursday denied entry to two World Health Organisation (WHO) mission team members after they failed Covid-19 screenings in Singapore, according to Bloomberg. They are a part of the WHO team which is visiting China to investigate the origins of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The two members, who had tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies in blood-based serology tests on their way to Wuhan via Singapore, were stopped from boarding their plane to Wuhan.

They had tested negative for Covid-19 in swab tests, Bloomberg reported.

"The international team of 13 scientists examining the origins of the virus that causes Covid-19 arrived in Wuhan, China, today. The experts will begin their work immediately during the 2 weeks quarantine protocol for international travelers," the WHO said in a tweet on Thursday.

"Two scientists are still in Singapore completing tests for Covid-19. All team members had multiple negative PCR and antibody tests for Covid-19 in their home countries prior to traveling," the global health body tweeted.

A global team of scientists led by the World Health Organization arrived in China's central city of Wuhan, where Covid-19 first surfaced in late 2019, to investigate the origins of the pandemic, state television said on Thursday.

The team will spend about a month in the city, including two weeks in quarantine.

WHO confirmed that the scientists were tested again in Singapore and were all negative for PCR. "But two members tested positive for IgM antibodies. They are being retested for both IgM and IgG antibodies."

China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian did not directly comment but said, "China will strictly follow the relevant epidemic prevention regulations and requirements, and provide corresponding support and facilities for WHO experts who come to China to carry out international cooperation on tracing the origin of the virus."

The rest of the team arrived at the Wuhan airport and walked through a makeshift clear plastic tunnel into the airport. The researchers, who wore face masks, were greeted by airport staff in full protective gear, including masks, goggles and full body suits.

They will undergo a two-week quarantine as well as a throat swab test and an antibody test for Covid-19, according to CGTN, the English-language channel of state broadcaster CCTV. They are to start working with Chinese experts via video conference while in quarantine.

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