Two members of WHO team blocked entry into China due to failed coronavirus antibody test

An international team of 13 scientists had to land in Wuhan, central China, where cases of the coronavirus were first recorded in late 2019, Thursday. But two members of this team will stay in Singapore, he said in a series of WHO tweets, after “IgM antibodies were found to be positive”.
IgM antibodies are among the earliest possible signs of coronavirus infection, but may also appear in those who have been vaccinated or have previously been infected (but no longer carriers) with the virus. False positive results are also possible with such tests.

Since November 2020, travelers to China must show negative results before an IgM antibody test and a PCR test before they can enter.

The scientists in question are being re-tested and have been tested several times in the past and found to be negative for the coronavirus several times, the organization said, adding that scientists who were able to travel to China “immediately begin work under the two-week quarantine protocol.” for international travelers. ”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference on Thursday that the country “strictly adheres to disease prevention rules and requirements and provides adequate support and tools to WHO experts who come to China to cooperate internationally in tracing the origin of the virus.” “

Asked whether the two scholars refused entry, Zhao did not comment and instructed the reports to ask “the competent authorities.”

State broadcaster CGTN reported on Thursday that the WHO team “arrived in the country” also underwent throat and serum antibodies at the airport.

Health workers are standing next to the buses in an enclosed area where arriving passengers are to be quarantined at China’s Wuhan International Airport on January 14, 2021, after the World Health Organization (WHO) team arrived.  the origin of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Delayed travel

This is the second delay for the WHO team, which was due to arrive in China earlier this month, but authorities prevented it from flying there, causing a rare reprimand for the United Nations.

“I am very disappointed with this news,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “I have been in contact with senior Chinese officials and have made it clear once again that the mission is a priority for the WHO and the international team.”

Tedros added that the WHO was “looking forward to the mission launching as soon as possible” and was assured that Beijing would speed up its internal process of “deployment as soon as possible.”

This deployment began this week when the majority of the team arrived in Wuhan, although they will be limited in what they can do when they complete the mandatory two-week quarantine.

Marion Koopmans, a senior Dutch virologist at the Erasmus Medical Centre’s Rotterdam Department of Virology who is a member of the investigation team heading to China, said earlier this month that they were “ready to go”.

Koopmans said they were told that nothing is limitless in China and said the team would work with their Chinese colleagues, “look at the data, talk to expert people and deduce what had been done, and what could be built.”

It is important to understand why you need to understand how the virus jumps to people, because “there is no country that does not have a risk of developing the disease. We need to understand this so the whole world can prepare.”

“We really have to have patience and not judge. Meticulous work, it takes time,” Koopmans said.

Political tensions

The United States and Australia have accused it of criticizing China’s treatment in the early stages of the pandemic, accusing Beijing of underestimating its severity and preventing a late effective response.

Outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the global epidemic, announcing that the U.S. will sever ties with the WHO, saying China had misrepresented information it had about the coronavirus and urged the WHO to “mislead the world.”
The United States has demanded transparency in WHO operations in China. In November, Garrett Grigsby told the WHO General Assembly with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Rights that the terms of the investigation into China had “not been negotiated in a transparent manner” and “the investigation itself appears to be inconsistent with its mandate.”
A lot of confidential documents obtained by CNN last year from the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Prevention and Control, where the virus was first discovered in 2019, showed whether Chinese officials gave the world more optimistic data than they had internal access to. that case numbers were under-reported in the initial phase of the epidemic.
China’s latest potential perpetrator in locating foreign coronavirus sources?  Packaging of car parts
As countries around the world struggle with new infections and epidemics, China seems to be booming. Last month, the country showed positive economic growth in the second quarter.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi praised China’s domestic and foreign anti-epidemic efforts, saying the country had “launched an emergency global humanitarian campaign” and “contributed to building a consensus on a global response to Covid-19.”

As the WHO team prepared for the launch, Chinese officials and state media questioned the origin of the virus, and Wang himself claimed that “more and more research suggests that the pandemic was probably caused by various epidemics in several parts of the world.”

CNN’s Beijing office contributed to the report.