WHO / COVID-19 ORIGINS

13-Jan-2021 00:04:43
The WHO’s international team is expected to arrive on Thursday in the Chinese city of Wuhan to search for the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO
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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 ORIGINS
TRT: 4:43
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 11 JANUARY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Exterior shot, WHO Headquarters
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Peter Ben Embarek, Scientist, food safety and zoonosis, WHO:
"We are leaving this week, as you said, and plan to arrive in Wuhan on Thursday. We will start with the two weeks quarantine in a hotel in Wuhan has everybody coming in into China, where we will start working immediately, remotely. And then after the two weeks, we would be able to move around and meet our Chinese counterparts in person and go to the different sites that will want to visit.”
3. Exterior shot, WHO Headquarters
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Peter Ben Embarek, Scientist, food safety and zoonosis, WHO:
“The idea is to advance a number of studies that were already designed and decided upon some months ago to get us a better understanding of what happened last year in December. And that would be looking at in more detail at the initial cases, the human cases that were detected in December 19, looking at the markets, the famous Wuhan markets, and see what happened there, trying to find out everything that went in and out of that market in the weeks ahead of the of the events.”
5. Exterior shot, WHO Headquarters
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Peter Ben Embarek, Scientist, food safety and zoonosis, WHO:
"We are putting together a group of experts, international experts that have all the expertise we need for this type of study. So, there will be experts in epidemiology, in animal and human diseases, there will be veterinarians, there will be medical doctors, there will be experts in the virus itself. And all these different areas of expertise will help us cover the studies that are needed. It would be a complex set of studies, as I mentioned, covering both the market environments, the studies of the initial human cases and the animal studies. So very complex set of studies."
7. Exterior shot, WHO Headquarters
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Peter Ben Embarek, Scientist, food safety and zoonosis, WHO:
"So we have already started working closely with our Chinese counterparts and they come not only from the Chinese CDC, but also from the different ministries and research centers involved coming from animal health, from agriculture, from wildlife and so on, from the market surveillance agencies. So a wide range of Chinese agencies are also involved. And we have already had a number of virtual meetings with them and we will continue that in the coming days after we arrive in Wuhan."
9. Exterior shot, WHO Headquarters
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Peter Ben Embarek, Scientist, food safety and zoonosis, WHO:
“As always, in this type of situation, it helps to be a little bit lucky and get the right hints and the right clues on the way that help you get to the final line. So, it could be a very long journey before we get a full understanding of what happened. So, I don't think we will have clear answers after this initial mission, but we will be on the way and hopefully in the coming months that will be completed by additional missions, additional studies, and leading us slowly to a better understanding of the origin of the virus."
11. Exterior shot, WHO Headquarters
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Peter Ben Embarek, Scientist, food safety and zoonosis, WHO:
"We know that the first case, human cases that were detected were detected in one in December 2019. We also know that this virus belonged to a group of viruses that have their national, their original niche in bat populations. In between these two points we don't know much. So, we know that the virus originated in bats at some point. And then we know that human cases appeared in Wahad in December 19. But what happened in between? How many other animal species were involved in between and where remains to be found? So, in more detail. So, we don't really know what happened in that period of time. And that's what we are out looking for."
13. Exterior shot, WHO Headquarters
STORYLINE
The WHO’s international team is expected to arrive on Thursday in the Chinese city of Wuhan to search for the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the source of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After completing the mandatory two-week quarantine, the team will be free to visit different places, notably famous Wuhan market, at the epicenter of the first recorded COVID-19 outbreak.

Team leader, Dr Peter Ben Embarek, WHO’s food safety and animal diseases scientist said "we are putting together a group of experts, international experts that have all the expertise we need for this type of study. So, there will be experts in epidemiology, in animal and human diseases, there will be veterinarians, there will be medical doctors, there will be experts in the virus itself. And all these different areas of expertise will help us cover the studies that are needed. It would be a complex set of studies, as I mentioned, covering both the market environments, the studies of the initial human cases and the animal studies. So very complex set of studies."

The team “have already started working closely” with ther Chinese counterparts, comprised not only from the Chinese Center for Disease Control, “but also from the different ministries and research centers involved coming from animal health, from agriculture, from wildlife and so on, from the market surveillance agencies,” Dr Embarek said.

He cautioned that “it could be a very long journey before we get a full understanding of what happened,” and it is not likely that “we will have clear answers after this initial mission.”

“Hopefully in the coming months that will be completed by additional missions, additional studies, and leading us slowly to a better understanding of the origin of the virus," Dr Embarek said
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