WUHAN, China (AP) — A global team of researchers arrived Thursday in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to conduct a politically sensitive investigation into its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries.
The group sent to Wuhan by the World Health Organization was approved by President Xi Jinping's government after months of diplomatic wrangling that prompted an unusual public complaint by the head of WHO.
Scientists suspect the virus that has killed more than 1.9 million people since late 2019 jumped to humans from bats or other animals, most likely in China's southwest. The ruling Communist Party, stung by complaints it allowed the disease to spread, has suggested the virus came from abroad, possibly on imported seafood, but international scientists reject that.
Fifteen team members were to arrive in Wuhan on Thursday, but two tested positive for coronavirus antibodies before leaving Singapore and were being retested there, WHO said in a statement on Twitter. Read more:
Here's an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.
- The number of people seeking unemployment aid soared last week to 965,000, the most since late August and a sign that the resurgent virus has likely escalated layoffs.
- California counties are asking for more coronavirus vaccine as the state added a potential 4 million people to those eligible for the doses.
- A World Health Organization official says Africa should get the first coronavirus vaccine doses from the global COVAX effort in March.
- Andy Murray's status for the Australian Open was put in doubt Thursday after he tested positive for the coronavirus only days before his planned charter flight to Melbourne.
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