The group is being put together by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to investigate the source of the deadly outbreak which has so killed 500,000
The group is being put together by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to investigate the source of the deadly outbreak which has so killed 500,000 and infected 10 million. The United States has called for an investigation into the causes of the global crisis.
President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have said it may have originated in a laboratory, although this theory is not given much credence in Washington.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said tracing the source of the outbreak could help fight the spread of coronavirus.
He said: “Knowing the source of the virus is very, very important.
“We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started.”
“We will be sending a team next week to China to prepare for that and we hope that that will lead into understanding how the virus started.”
Scientists believe the virus jumped from animals to humans, possibly at a market in central city of Wuhan where exotic animals were sold as meat.
Dr Tedros warned the pandemic was now “speeding up” and far from over, saying he feared “the worst is still to come” unless international unity replaces fractious division.
And he said any country claiming contact tracing was too difficult during the coronavirus pandemic was using “a lame excuse”.
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He said governments saying contacts are too hard or too widespread to get hold of has been the biggest failing of some throughout the crisis.
Dr Tedros said: “If there is a single failure for many of our countries to really not hunt down this virus it is our failure in contact tracing because we have lame excuses saying ‘it’s too many and it’s too difficult to trace because there are too many’.”
Referring to health workers who have previously contact traced during illness outbreaks in war-torn nations, Dr Tedros said: “Trust me there is not too many, even in a war situation.
“If contact tracing helps you to win the fight you do it even risking your life.
“If any country is saying contact tracing is difficult it is a lame excuse.”
His comments come one day after a scientist advising the UK Government said the test, trace and isolate system “is not yet fully functional”.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said: “It’s got to be fully functional by the beginning of September.
“It has to be there, that people trust it, that people are willing to use it and people are willing to respect the results that come from it.”