From November 2020, travelers to China must show negative results for an IgM antibody test and a PCR test before they are allowed to enter.
The scientists in question have been retested and previously tested and found negative for coronavirus repeatedly, the organization said, adding that those scientists who were able to travel to China “will begin their work immediately during the two-week quarantine period.”
At a regular press conference on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijiang said the country “will strictly follow the relevant provisions and requirements for epidemic prevention and will provide appropriate support and funds for WHO experts coming to China to carry out international cooperation.” to trace the origin of the virus. “
Asked about the refusal of the two scientists to enter, Zhao did not comment, instructing reports to ask “the relevant authorities.”
State television operator CGTN said Thursday that the WHO team “did throat swabs and serum antibody tests” at the airport upon arrival in the country.
“I am very disappointed with this news,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gebreesus. “I was in contact with senior Chinese officials and once again made it clear that the mission is a priority for the WHO and the international team.”
Tedros added that the WHO was “eager to launch the mission as soon as possible” and that he had received assurances that Beijing was speeding up the internal procedure for “deployment as soon as possible”.
This deployment began this week as most of the team arrived in Wuhan, although they will be limited in what they can do when they complete a mandatory two-week quarantine.
Marion Koopmans, a Dutch virologist who heads the virology department at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and is part of an investigation team heading to China, said earlier this month that they were “ready to go.”
Koopmans said they were told nothing was out of bounds while in China, and said the team would work with their Chinese counterparts, “looking at the data, talking to people with experience and drawing conclusions from what has been done. what can be built on. “
She said it was important to understand the origins of how the virus jumped on people, because “there is no country that does not risk developing a disease. This is something we need to understand so that the whole world can prepare . “
“We really have to be patient and not judge. This is meticulous work, it will take time,” Coopmans said.
The United States and Australia have filed charges, criticizing China’s behavior in the early stages of the pandemic, accusing Beijing of downplaying its severity and preventing an effective response until too late.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi praised China’s anti-pandemic efforts at home and abroad, saying the country was “launching an emergency global humanitarian campaign” and “helping to reach a consensus on the global response to Covid-19.”
CNN’s Beijing bureau contributed to the reporting