The delegation will travel to China next week after the agency tried, since last May, to persuade Chinese authorities to invite its experts

WHO will send a team to China to investigate the origin of the coronavirus

PHOTO/SALVATORE DI NOLFI/KEYSTONE vía AP - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO)

As part of the efforts to learn more about the emergence of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which has already left more than 503,000 dead and more than 10.1 million cases diagnosed worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) will send a team of scientists to China to study the emergence of the pathogen on Chinese territory. The official and extended version indicates that the origin of the virus that caused the serious pandemic that currently plagues the planet is in a market of food and fresh animal products in Wuhan, capital of the province of Hubei, in the eastern part of the Asian nation.  

As part of the long-running coronavirus outbreak study, the WHO will send a team to China next week to learn more about the details, announced WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Since May, the United Nations health agency has been pressuring Chinese authorities to allow a research team to travel to the outbreak of the pandemic in order to learn more about the animal origin of the new coronavirus that is seriously affecting world health. "Knowing the source of the virus is very, very important," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a telematics press conference held on Monday. "We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started," he said, before announcing that ""we will be sending a team next week to China to prepare for that and we hope that that will lead into understanding how the virus started". The WHO director-general did not specify the composition of the team or further details about the expedition that will be heading to the Asian giant. 

The scientific community is working on the basis that the coronavirus was transmitted from an animal to man, and that it emerged in China at the end of last year, in December 2019, possibly in the market of the city of Wuhan, dedicated to selling seafood and fresh animals as food, within the category of the so-called wet markets, widely spread in China, which can be dangerous sources of virus infection because the products are not treated or preserved properly, as several experts say; a joint scenario of live and dead animals and a large influx of people that can be the perfect breeding ground for the transmission of various viruses and bacteria. In the case of Wuhan, it has been assessed that the pathogen could have passed from a bat to a pangolin and then jump to a human body, which triggered the subsequent spread of the virus entering an increasing number of people given the high degree of contagion of this new coronavirus. It was only a matter of time before it left China's borders, and this began to happen with the continuous international movement of people that is so characteristic of the global era in which we live.  

Fotografía de archivo de un policía haciendo guardia frente al mercado mayorista de mariscos de Wuhan, el 24 de enero de 2020

China suffered the first hard impact and then other countries such as Spain or Italy experienced a high number of affected people within their territories. Almost no part of the world has not been touched by the health crisis and today some nations are suffering severely from the blow, such as the United States or Brazil, where the population is very dense and the probability of contagion is high.  

After the outbreak of the coronavirus, governments around the world imposed protective measures dictated by health authorities, according to the recommendations of agencies such as the WHO itself. The use of masks became widespread, to try not to spread fluids that may contain the virus, and products for the skin and hands, such as hydroalcoholic gels, to eradicate the virus if it had come into contact with it on any surface and thus avoid taking it to some area of the face or respiratory tract through which it can be acquired, in addition to the already known measures of social confinement and distance that were aimed at avoiding as far as possible contacts between humans to cut routes of contagion and proliferation of the pathogen. Confinement has been relaxed in recent times as there is greater control of cases and the normalization of the situation in many hospitals, after more data and knowledge about the virus and after some initial moments of chaos and overflow, but social distancing remains more than recommended in everyday life when going out and relating to each other.  

Mercado callejero en Wuhan, la ciudad china más afectada por el brote de la COVID-19, en la provincia de Hubei, China, el 14 de mayo de 2020

The fact is that we must not lower our guard, since the war has not yet been won by a long shot. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus himself has indicated in the last few hours that the COVID-19 health crisis is not even close to over. "We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over. Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up" said the Ethiopian leader and immunologist.