By Emily Chow
WUHAN, China (Reuters) – With investigators from the World Health Organization (WHO) set to visit China next year, residents of Wuhan are saying they want the team to come to the central city, hoping they could prove the virus did not originate there.
An international team of investigators is expected to travel to China in January, the WHO said on Thursday, more than a year after the first identified cluster of COVID-19 infections was linked to the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan.
“I welcome them to come. We also want to know how it developed, specifically where it came from, if the source of the virus is here,” said a Wuhan resident surnamed Wan, as he walked to work on Thursday morning.
“My feeling is that it is not from there,” he added, referring to the seafood market.
The WHO did not confirm whether its team will go to Wuhan, saying that discussions on the itinerary were ongoing. A two-member WHO team visited China in July, but did not visit Wuhan.
Reuters reported earlier, citing a member and diplomats, that a team of 12-15 international experts will visit Wuhan to examine evidence, including human and animal samples collected by Chinese researchers, and to build on their initial studies.