International travel restrictions have stifled the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) investigation into the Chinese origins of COVID-19 after health experts have been forced to start the inquiry virtually.
This comes five months after WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pledged, at the “earliest appropriate moment” he would initiate an independent probe into the origins of the SARS-CoV-2.
During an interview on Nine network’s Today Show on Nov. 3, WHO spokesperson Dr. Margaret Harris said the investigation had begun but the WHO has not yet entered China.
“Well, that’s actually started, so they had their first meeting on Friday,” she said. “It was a virtual meeting as you can imagine, a lot of the people—the international experts—are in places where they can’t actually travel from anymore.”
“So their work at the moment is going on virtually,” Harris said while emphasising that its important all nations work together amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which is credited with causing an estimated 1.2 million deaths globally.
A host of countries around the world have imposed travel restrictions to prevent COVID-19 transmission, although exemptions for essential travel are frequently cited.
Current international travel guidelines from the WHO published in July recommends people should only complete “essential travel for emergencies, humanitarian actions (including emergency medical flights and medical evacuation).
It also allows for travel of essential personnel (including emergency responders and providers of public health technical support, critical personnel in the transport sector such as seafarers and diplomatic officers), and repatriation.”
During the early stages of the CCP virus pandemic in March, China closed its borders to the world, but only after millions of people were allowed to board flights out of Wuhan to multiple locations across the globe.
An Australia-led World Health Assembly resolution backed by 100 nations was passed on May 18 to investigate the virus origins. Weeks prior, it was reported that the WHO was excluded from entering China to visit the Wuhan Insititute of Virology.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne led the charge for an inquiry into the virus origins in April after raising concerns about China’s transparency.
Morrison said in April that the inquiry was essential for public health globally.
“This is a virus that has taken more than 200,000 lives across the world. It has shut down the global economy. The implications and impacts of this are extraordinary,” the prime minister said.
“It would seem entirely reasonable and sensible that the world would want to have an independent assessment of how this all occurred, so we can learn the lessons and prevent it from happening again,” he said.
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