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World Health Organization experts head to Wuhan to investigate source of Covid-19 pandemic

World Health Organization experts will arrive in the Chinese city of Wuhan today to begin their investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Dr Peter Ben Embarek, who is leading the mission, has a lot of questions about how the global pandemic came about. Source: Associated Press

The mission will be led by WHO expert Dr Peter Ben Embarek, who said the UN agency had assembled a team of scientists and doctors from various disciplines to travel to the city where the virus was first detected in late 2019.

The mission has been months in the making, but has been dogged by delays.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed frustration last week that arrangements were taking so long to finalise.

After landing, the team will spend two weeks in quarantine before visiting various sites to investigate how the coronavirus first jumped to people, said Ben Embarek, an expert in zoonosis, diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.

He said they would look closely into the first human cases of the virus, as well as activity around traditional Chinese markets in the city.

"We know that the virus originated in bats at some point. And then we know that human cases appeared in Wuhan in December 2019. But what happened in between?"

That, he said, was the mystery that the WHO team was setting out to answer.