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The WHO experts pushed back against the theory that the coronavirus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology/ Photo courtesy, AFP

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Expert team on COVID-19 virus origins to publish reports soon: WHO chief

GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb13 – An independent expert team to study the origins of the COVID-19 virus is working on a summary report expected to be published next week, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), on Friday.

The WHO chief told a virtual press conference that the team has completed its trip to China, and their full final report will be published in the coming weeks.

“This has been a very important scientific exercise in very difficult circumstances. We look forward to receiving both reports, which will be released publicly,” he said.

The international team, having finished their work in Wuhan of China earlier this week, comprises experts from Australia, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Qatar, Russia, Britain, the United States and Vietnam, according to the WHO chief.

The team also includes WHO experts and those of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Organization for Animal Health.

“Having spoken with some members of the team, I wish to confirm that all hypotheses remain open and require further analysis and studies,” Tedros said, noting that some of that work may lie outside the remit and scope of this mission.

“We have always said that this mission would not find all the answers, but it has added important information that takes us closer to understanding the origins of the virus,” he added.

The WHO chief explained that the mission achieved a better understanding of the early days of the pandemic, and identified areas for further analysis and research, and the WHO will continue working to get the information needed to answer the questions that still need to be answered.

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