WHO team visits animal disease center in Wuhan, China

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A member of a World Health Organization team is seen wearing protective gear during a field visit to the Hubei Animal Disease Control and Prevention Center for another day of field visit in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. The WHO team is investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic has visited two disease control centers in the province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

WUHAN – A World Health Organization team of international experts visited an animal disease center in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Tuesday as part of their investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Team member Peter Daszak, a zoologist with the EcoHealth Alliance, said “excellent facilities, very informative meeting” from an open window as the group left the center in minivans.

He also tweeted that they had met with staff in charge of livestock health in Hubei province, toured laboratories and had an in-depth discussion along with questions and answers. Wuhan is the capital of Hubei.

Further details of the visit were not announced in what has been a tightly controlled trip, with the media only able to glimpse the team coming and going from its hotel and site visits.

The team members wore full protective gear during Tuesday's visit.

It’s not clear if they wore similar full-body suits at the research institutes, hospitals and markets they visited on previous days. Outside their hotel and en route to and from visits, the experts have worn masks and professional or business casual attire.

Intense negotiations preceded the WHO visit to Wuhan, where the first COVID-19 cases were detected in late 2019. China has maintained strict controls on access to information about the virus, possibly to avoid blame for alleged missteps in its early response to the outbreak.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the Chinese government had provided significant support and assistance to the WHO team, responding to criticism that China has not revealed much about what the researchers are being allowed to do.