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Two members of WHO team to China held back after tested Corona positive

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Wuhan, China: Two members of a World Health Organization-led global researchers’ team that arrived in the Wuhan city of China on Thursday, to investigate the origin of corona virus epidemic, were held back in Singapore after testing positive for coronavirus antibodies, the global body said. As per reports, all the 15 researches in the team were tested negative for the infection prior to leaving their home countries, and had undergone further testing during transit in Singapore.

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However, the Geneva-based agency in a tweet wrote that the results of nucleic acid tests were negative but showed two of the members had coronavirus antibodies. “They are being retested for both IgM and IgG antibodies,” read WHO’s tweet.

The team is tasked with investigating the origins of the Covid-19 that started in China’s Wuhan city and spread across the world claiming millions of lives. To note, the deadly coronavirus was initially linked to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan.

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Meanwhile, the rest of the team had arrived Wuhan from Singapore late on Thursday morning and were expected to go into two weeks of quarantine. The group left Wuhan’s airport terminal through a plastic quarantine tunnel marked as “epidemic prevention passage” for international arrivals and boarded a cordoned-off bus that was guarded by six security staff in full protective gear.

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After finishing quarantine time, the team will spend two weeks interviewing people from research institutes, hospitals and the seafood market in Wuhan where the new pathogen is believed to have emerged, as per reports.

Expressing concern over the findings of the team, Hung Nguyen, a Vietnamese biologist who was part of the team, told media during a stopover in Singapore on Wednesday that he did not expect any restrictions on the group’s work in China, but cautioned the team might not find clear answers. As per reports, China has been pushing a narrative via state media that the virus existed abroad before it was discovered in Wuhan. The Chinese government claims that the presence of the virus was on imported frozen food packaging and scientific papers claiming it had been circulating in Europe in 2019.

The WHO’s top emergency expert, Mike Ryan in a media interaction had said, “We are looking for the answers here that may save us in future – not culprits and not people to blame,” adding that the WHO was willing to go “anywhere and everywhere” to find out how the virus emerged.

Meanwhile, the United States, which has accused China of hiding the extent of its initial outbreak a year ago, has called for a “transparent” WHO-led investigation. The Us also criticised the terms of the visit, under which Chinese experts have done the first phase of research.

Also Read: China puts 4.9 million residents under lockdown amid new COVID-19 threat

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