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Summary report on COVID-19 mission to China to be published next week, says WHO

According to the Director General, "all hypotheses remain open and require further analysis and studies"

GENEVA, February 12. /TASS/. A preliminary report of an international mission to China that studied the origins of the novel coronavirus which caused the pandemic of COVID-19 should be published next week, while the full report is expected in the following weeks, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva on Friday.

"The expert team is working on a summary report which we hope will be published next week, and the full final report will be published in the coming weeks," he noted.

According to the Director General, "all hypotheses remain open and require further analysis and studies." "We have always said that this mission would not find all the answers, but it has added important information that takes us closer to understanding the origins of the virus," he said. He emphasized that the mission provided an opportunity to achieve "a better understanding of the early days of the pandemic, and identified areas for further analysis and research."

The Director General reported that the number of the coronavirus infections worldwide has been decreasing for the fourth week in a row, while the number of deaths has been decreasing for the second consecutive week. "These declines appear to be due to countries implementing public health measures more stringently," he suggested. Calling the current epidemiological situation encouraging, the Director General nevertheless urged not to grow complacent. "Now is not the time for any country to relax measures, or for any individual to let down their guard," he asserted.

The WHO mission arrived in China’s Wuhan to study the origins of the novel coronavirus on January 14. Upon arrival, they were placed on a two-week quarantine which they used to conduct video consultations with their Chinese colleagues. During the visit the experts visited the Huanan seafood market where the first outbreak of the coronavirus was recorded in December 2019, a number of city’s infectious hospitals as well as the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Earlier, the WHO repeatedly stated that the search for a source of the first coronavirus infection should begin in Wuhan. Last summer, two experts visited China in order to prepare the main mission. As a result of the trip, the WHO experts and China drafted a document on research and agenda of an international group led by the WHO.