Since November 2020, travelers traveling to China have to show negative results for the IgM antibody test, and PCR test, before they are allowed entry.
The organization said that the scientists concerned are being re-tested, and they have previously tested and found negative for Corona virus several times, adding that those scientists who were able to travel to China “will start their work immediately during the two-week quarantine protocol. For international travelers.”
At a regular press conference on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the country “will strictly follow relevant epidemic prevention regulations and requirements, and provide support and corresponding facilities for WHO experts who come to China to carry out international cooperation on tracing the origin of the virus.”
In response to a question about refusing to enter the worlds, Zhao refused to comment, instructing the reports by asking “relevant authorities.”
The official CGTN station reported on Thursday that the WHO team “underwent throat swabs and serum antibody tests at the airport” upon arrival in the country.
“I am very disappointed by this news,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “I have been in contact with senior Chinese officials and have made clear once again that the mission is a priority for the World Health Organization and the international team.”
Tedros added that the World Health Organization is “keen to start the mission as soon as possible” and that he had received assurances that Beijing would speed up internal procedures for “spreading as soon as possible.”
This posting started this week, with the majority of the team arriving in Wuhan, though they will limit themselves to what they can do as they end their mandatory two-week quarantine.
They are “ready to go,” said Marion Koopmans, a Dutch virologist who heads the department of virology at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and is part of the investigation team heading to China.
Copmans said they were told that nothing was forbidden while in China, and they said that the team would work collaboratively with their Chinese colleagues “look at the data, talk to people with experience, and draw conclusions from what has been accomplished and what can be based on it”.
She said that it is important to understand the origins of how the virus was transmitted to humans because “no country has no risk of disease emerging. It is something we need to understand, so that the whole world can prepare.”
“We really need to be patient, not judgmental,” Koopmans said. “It’s delicate work and it will take time.”
The United States and Australia led the charge in criticizing the way China handled the early stages of the epidemic, and accused Beijing of minimizing its severity and preventing an effective response until it is too late.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi praised China’s efforts in fighting the epidemic at home and abroad, saying the country had “launched a global emergency humanitarian campaign” and “helped build consensus on a global response to Covid-19.”
CNN’s Beijing office contributed to this report.