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WHO investigators blocked from entering Wuhan, China to study origins of coronavirus

The World Health Organisation has revealed China has blocked the arrival of a team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, in a rare rebuke from the UN agency.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said two scientists on the United Nations team had already left their home countries for Wuhan when they were told that Chinese officials had not approved the necessary permissions to enter the country.

The arrangements had been jointly agreed with China in advance.

“I am very disappointed with this news,” Tedros told a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday.

“I have been in contact with senior Chinese officials and I have once again made clear that the mission is a priority for WHO and the international team.”

‘As soon as possible’

Tedros said WHO was “eager to get the mission underway as soon as possible” and that he had been given assurances that Beijing was speeding up the internal procedure for “the earliest possible deployment.”

Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program said there was an issue with visas and one team member had already returned home.

The other was waiting in transit in a third country.

World Health Organization (WHO) general director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Credit: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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