Beijing [China], January 11 (ANI): An international expert team from the World Health Organization (WHO) is set to arrive in China on Thursday to conduct joint scientific research with Chinese scientists on the origin of the novel coronavirus, the National Health Commission said on Monday.
China Daily reported that further details have not been disclosed in the brief statement released on the commission's website.
Zeng Yixin, the vice-minister of the commission, said at a news conference on Saturday that China has attached high importance to tracing the origins of the novel coronavirus and supports cooperation between China and the WHO on the issue.
This comes after the World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed disappointment over China not finalising the permissions for the arrival of the team that was to investigate the origin of the coronavirus last week.
He added, "I am very disappointed with this news given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute. But I have been in contact with senior Chinese officials and I have once again made clear that the mission is a priority for WHO and the international team."
While China has dismissed criticism of its handling of early cases that emerged in late 2019, some leaders including US President Donald Trump have questioned Beijing's actions during the outbreak. Trump has often called it the 'ChinaVirus' and has repeatedly called for the Chinese government to be held accountable for "this plague".
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also slammed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for continuing to spread disinformation regarding COVID-19 and obstructing the investigation of the World Health Organization (WHO) in finding out the origin and spread of the virus.
Sino-Australian relations have been in a downward spiral since April when Canberra infuriated Beijing by proposing an independent international inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who was detained in May for her live stream reporting from Wuhan over COVID-19, has been sentenced to four years of imprisonment in late December, Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported.
She has been convicted of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" for her reporting in the chaotic initial stages of the outbreak.
The global COVID-19 cases have crossed 9 million and over 1.93 million people have died from the pathogen, according to Johns Hopkins University. (ANI)